The past two school years have been a rollercoaster, to put it mildly. A once-in-a-lifetime global event which has impacted almost every person on the planet does not exactly create the most conducive environment for learning. While we aren’t saying goodbye to Covid-19 just yet, we are able to start embracing a new normal as we look to the future.
As the new school year gets underway, here are some tips to support your wellbeing the new term, to help get you on track for a positive start…
1. Celebrate the small wins
We’re often our own worst critics. We expect too much of ourselves, and give ourselves a hard time when we don’t meet our own impossible standards. Give yourself a break! What you’ve been through in the past 18 months has been a massive upheaval, and that’s before you consider any personal losses, or changes of circumstance. It’s okay to not really be okay. It was said once that ‘anything worth doing is worth doing poorly’. That might sound odd- surely anything worth doing is worth doing well? But reading only 2 chapters of a book is better than not reading any of it at all. Doing a practice paper and failing it, is better than not practicing at all. Celebrate the fact you’re trying, and acknowledge that every step forward is an achievement in itself.
2. Do things in your own time
All too often, the metric for success is centred around productivity. The idea that, if you haven’t been busy with lots to show for it at the end of the day, then you must have wasted your time. This. Is. Not. True. We’re human beings, not robots. We’re not designed to be working 24/7. We need breaks and pauses to reset. Whether that’s switching off for 20 minutes to watch TikTok or having a chat with a friend, don’t feel guilty for taking that time for yourself. Allowing yourself to relax when you need to will help you focus on what you’ve got to get done.
3. Communicate what you need with others
Building on from point #2, of course sometimes there are deadlines which you can’t get avoid. Yet no one would expect you to meet a deadline if you’ve been ill – and mental health is just as important as physical health. If you’re having a difficult time, or are feeling overwhelmed by the work you have to do, don’t suffer in silence. Ignoring feelings of overwhelm or anxiety can lead to more serious mental health concerns. Communicate with your teachers, parents and friends and see if they can help. Whether it’s extending a deadline, giving you more space and time to work, or simply being there to share your worries, give those around you the chance to help. You’re never alone.
4. Consider journaling
Sometimes it can be really hard putting a finger on exactly what might be troubling you. It can be just a niggling feeling, or a dark cloud which seems to follow you around, or perhaps you’re starting to push people away. Poor mental health can manifest itself in all sorts of ways, but a really good way of keeping on track of how you’re feeling is by journaling. This looks different for everyone, but keeping note of how you feel each day and reflecting over it can allow you to identify patterns in behaviour, or ways of thinking and feeling, which might make it easier to articulate to others (and even yourself) what may be wrong. On the flip side, writing one thing down every day that made you happy, or smile, can be a really quick way of reminding yourself of the small joys of life, even in the toughest of times.
5. Do something for you
At school, it can be quite easy to simply drift along, doing what teachers, parents, or your friends tell you to do. But it’s so important for your wellbeing to do things for yourself, and to learn the value of working on you. Not for anyone else, just for you. Because you value yourself. This can be anything from learning a new skill, to taking up a hobby. Not only does this help improve your sense of self-worth, but it can help prepare you for the future by giving yourself something to put on your CV, or talk about in an interview. At Your Game Plan, we have a tonne of free resources and certified skills you can do in your own time to help you do just that, while giving your future self a boost onto the career ladder. Win-win!
You can find out more about what we have on offer here. But just remember, no matter how challenging things may seem either now or in the months to come, you’ve survived a global pandemic. The face of ‘normal’ has completely changed, and so have you. Just take each day as it comes, celebrate the small things, and remember that the future is yours for the taking.
Happy New (School) Year!