What’s it going to be like when school starts again?

It’s going to be different, that’s for sure. For a start, there will be new rules around mask wearing, school yard areas and social distancing.

21 October 2021
High school student smiling

You might not be able to do some things like sing in groups, attend assemblies or play some sports.

On the flip side, you’ll be able to see your friends IRL, and get your questions answered quickly in class.

There are a few things to consider when it comes to getting back to school:

Safety

  • Keep up to date about the rules around mask wearing at school and while travelling to and from there. If you need more information, look at your school’s website, Facebook page or contact a teacher or year adviser. Remember, COVID safe practices about physical distancing and hand washing are for the safety of everyone in the school community.

  • There may be changes to school-based activities like assemblies, sport, and excursions to encourage physical distancing and help keep people safe.

  • If you feel unsafe, or are worried about safety, talk to a trusted adult in the school about it.

Keep connected

  • Challenging times can be easier to get through together, so stay connected, be positive and be there for each other. Others may be feeling the same way so it can help to talk about it together and support each other.

  • Look out for your friends. If you think your friend is having a tough time, it’s a good idea to reach out and offer support. ReachOut has some helpful tips on how to start the conversation.

Don’t forget your physical health

  • Eating healthier food throughout the day and drinking water will help to improve your mood, aid concentration, boost your energy level and support your general health. This includes eating breakfast.

  • Stay active. Returning to school may make you physically and mentally tired for a while. Try to spend some time doing something physical at the end of the day to give yourself a break, get the blood flowing and boost your mood. This could be a walk, bike-riding, dancing, yoga, or high intensity exercise.

  • Make sure you get enough sleep to give your brain a rest and allow you to recharge. Get back into the routine of sleeping 8-10 hours and go to bed earlier enough so you can wake up in the morning in time for school. Uninterrupted sleep is best, so put your phone on silent or, even better, in another room.

Feelings

  • It’s ok to feel a range of emotions about returning to school after learning from home. You may feel worried, nervous, angry, or happy, or any emotion in between. It may take you time to reconnect with teachers and other students and settle back into the school routine. And remember that some days may be easier than others.

  • Try to remember a time in the past when you have faced challenges that made you feel nervous or worried. Think about the strategies that you used to manage these emotions and get through the situation.

  • Even though it can be tough, look to focus on the good things, no matter how small they may seem. It is important to seek out the positives to help build your confidence and focus on your strengths.

If you do feel overwhelmed there are heaps of things you can do:

  • Take some deep breaths, walk away to another area, or talk about it with your mates.
  • Use an app to help look after yourself:-
    • Smiling Mind is one app that can be used to practise mindful meditations to manage stress and assist with relaxing
    • Reachout.com has heaps of other apps you can check out.
  • Reach out to your support network. This may include your family, people at school such as your teachers, year adviser, school counsellor/ school psychologist or student support officer.
  • There are some helplines that are great to use. You can do this on the phone or online chat. Kids HelpLine (Kidshelpline.com.au or 1800 55 1800) or Headspace (1800 650 890) are two places you can contact. Their services are free of charge.
  • Your local doctor is also someone you can talk to.

You will find more ideas on how to look after yourself and your friends on the Department of Education’s student mental health and wellbeing pages.

Your feelings are important, and you are allowed to talk about them. There are lots of people you can talk to when and if you need to.


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