mental health and school

3 Ways to Check In On Your Mental Health Before School

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Cameron Monson, MSW, LGSW, Children's Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS) Mental Health Practitioner/School-Based Therapist. A new school year is right around the corner. For many, going back to school can trigger stress and anxiety. Add in a hectic schedule with after-school activities, and feelings of overwhelm can surmount. Mental health and school go hand in hand, and checking in with yourself before the school year starts should be a priority. If your mental health isn't in the right space, it can make school extremely difficult. Whether you're in high school, college, or have school-aged children, checking in on your mental health is beneficial. Keep reading to learn practical tips that you can implement before school begins.  Related: How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

Ask Yourself Questions 

Part of checking in with your mental health involves self-awareness. Ask yourself a few questions daily and be aware of any drastic changes to your answers. To make it a habit, build these questions into your day. Ask them in the morning after you wake up or while you’re having breakfast. The questions include:  
  1. How am I feeling today?  
  2. What’s been worrying me lately? 
  3. Am I fulfilling my basic needs? (Food, exercise, sleep.) 
  4. What can I do today that will bring me joy? 
Answering these questions will give you a good idea of where you are on any given day. If you have younger children, ask them these questions too. Nutrition, self-care, current stressors, and your emotions all impact your mental health and school, so it's important to take note of these things. At first, asking yourself these questions might feel silly. Eventually, it will become a habit, and you might realize that it’s a natural way to be proactive about your mental health.  Related: 5 Mental Health Myths Debunked

Center Yourself 

Before school starts, practicing centering yourself is a wonderful way to check in on your mental health. This can include practices like mindful breathing, meditation, or journaling. Cameron Monson, a CTSS Mental Health Practitioner at Nystrom & Associates, explains how centering yourself affects your life: 
We are so focused on doing a task we forget about what happens before we start. Beginning with a positive mindset or belief that things will in some way work out can be the difference between winning the race and giving up halfway. Take a few minutes to get centered each day and see how your life can change!  
This same principle applies before you start a big test or project. Often, we get caught up in thinking about how long it will take or how hard it will be before we even start. So, throughout the school year, remember that your mindset can change your entire experience. Take a moment to center yourself before you begin something to increase the chances of a positive result. Monson notes: 
Mental health is not just thoughts and feelings, but it is what we do. Checking in with ourselves before an activity can make all the difference, as limits only exist in our minds. This can be as simple as, "Today is going to be a great day!" 
Related: 3 Ways Meditation Helps Your Mental Health

Have a Support System 

Who is in your corner? Who can you turn to and talk about what’s on your mind?  Talking to a trustworthy family member or friend is essential for mental health. It could be a partner, sibling, faith leader, or therapist. Just make sure you have someone in your life who listens to you, offers good advice (when you ask for it), has your best interests at heart, is respectful, and allows you to make your own decisions for growth (including making mistakes).  

A Word From Nystrom & Associates 

If you’re concerned about your mental health and school, don’t wait to get professional help. Nystrom & Associates offers telehealth and in-person therapy, and psychiatry appointments. To learn more about our services or to book an appointment, call 1-844-NYSTROM or request an appointment online today.  Related: How Routines Benefit Your Mental Health  

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