Skip links

Back To School Tips For Students

By Lisa Wood and Sandy Bundy

Are you feeling anxious about the school year ahead? Many things have changed for everyone lately, and we know that this school year is going to look different from what we have known in the past. If you are feeling anxious, stressed or worried about the school year, you are not alone! Anxiety can affect us mentally, emotionally, physically and socially. Anxiety causes distress and unsettling physical feelings. It isn’t very pleasant and it kind of feels like you are panicking, feeling frazzled, worried or under a lot of pressure. Some things you may notice might be:

Female student holding her notebook and standing in the middle of her class of other students

Physical Symptoms

You may notice changes in your body such as shortness of breath, a racing heart, dizziness, bowel issues or clenched muscles. For more information on the connection between physical and mental health check out this article.

Young boy on video call with teacher for school

Social Changes

You may go out, but immediately feel like you have to leave. Or, you feel like you want to avoid situations that you used to enjoy, like catching up with friends or going to sports training.

teenage boy on his smartphone looking at back to school tips

Mental Changes

You may also notice changes in your thoughts, such as a greater tendency towards negativity, or feeling like everything is piling up, giving you a sense of overwhelm.

When you notice changes in your behavior and wonder if it is anxiety we advise the following:

  • Reach out for help and support. One place to start is by going to your family doctor.
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend.
  • It is also important to take a break, go for a walk, read a book listen to music or some deep breathing.
  • Anxiety is often accompanied by negative thinking patterns such as, “I am not good enough or I can’t do anything right!” When these thought patterns happen it is important to use the 3 C’s. Catch itChallenge it and Change it. In other words, treat yourself as your own best friend and use compassionate dialogue when speaking to yourself.
  • It is also important to reach out for professional support and resources as listed below.

Anxiety is a common response to stressful situations. It is nothing to be embarrassed about and can be well managed by talking to a professional that you trust.

young black student with backpack exiting his school building


Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
Canadian Mental Health Association York/ Simcoe 1-866-345-0183
Family Services of York Region 905-895-2371
360 Kids 905-475-6694
Lesbian Gay Trans Youthline 1-800-268-9688
York Hills for Families 905-503-9560
310-COPE Crisis Line 1-855-310-2673
Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health
Children’s Mental Health Ontario Centres
Return to top of page