Hello all! As the new school year is about to begin, back to school stress is on the brain for many students and parents.

Although people may want to tell you otherwise, being in school is hard. Not only are there educational obligations (finishing your homework, passing your tests, etc.) but there are social stresses too (making friends, getting invited to parties, etc.) and the big one that affects students today like it never did before, social media.

Here are some tips for back to school to make the stress a little more manageable:

1. Find your outlet

Starting a new school year can be overwhelming, especially for freshmen or students transferring to a new school. Find healthy ways to manage that stress, talk to friends/family or journal. Being alone with your stress NEVER makes the stress go away. Being open to discussing your problems can prevent feelings of anxiousness, depression and loneliness.

2. Do what you like

I always encourage my students to figure out what their hobbies and talents are. Join a sports team, painting club, drama class, whatever activity resonates with you. Some of us have hobbies we’d rather do alone, that’s great too!  But try to find a way to incorporate socializing into at least one of your activities.

3. Put down your phone

Try to give yourself some time away from your phone every day. (This can be done by incorporating tips 1 and 2!) Social media forces us to compare ourselves to friends, celebrities, and bloggers. Don’t forget that social media is a person’s highlight reel, and does not accurately paint a picture of what their life is really like. Decide a time of day where you are going to be technology free and try to stick to it. Give your brain and eyes some time away from the screen.

4. Know when to ask for help

As I mentioned before, being a student is hard work and sometimes students get overloaded. This is when therapists come in. Therapy doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, it just means you are willing to take a look at your life and improve upon it.

Sometimes we need help managing our lives which include our stress, our crazy families, the constant thoughts in our head, etc. I work with clients to help piece this all together. I collaborate with each student to make an individualized plan to tackle whatever stresses or issues come their way.

Lara Abounayan,  Associate MFT