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The back-to-school season affects everyone. Maybe you’re a student overwhelmed with excitement and nerves for a fresh school experience, or a parent desperately trying to get their kids back on schedule. Perhaps you’re a teacher stepping back into your superhero suit, or maybe even just a normal person annoyed with the sudden increase in traffic. Regardless, the new school year brings with it a lot of ups and downs. Let’s take the time to mindfully consider the relationship between back-to-school and mental health.

Stress trickles up and down

To start, remember that stress is contagious. It trickles up and down and all around. The added chaos, schedule disruptions, and resource and energy consumption that the back-to-school season demands means stress and anxiety can quickly multiply. Take a mindful approach and practice habits that help you overcome stress before it starts seeping to those around you. 

Beyond stress and anxiety, really diving in to understand how the new school year and mental health feed off of each other is paramount to setting yourself and your loved ones up for success. Here are several ideas to help back-to-school and mental health flourish together in your life.

Kids, be your authentic self

Our first mental health tip this back-to-school season is about authenticity. You can be who you want to be. You have grown and changed as a person since last school year. And that’s awesome! Be yourself, and let the amazing individual you are becoming shine in the new school year. Embrace the new you, new style, new identity, new hobbies, and new interests. Let kindness lead you to be your authentic self, and celebrate with your friends (new and old), as you let them express themselves how they feel best.  

The new school year is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. So, as you step into the new you that you want to be, remember that your education and commitments are still very important for you in the present and future. Organization and routine is great for mental health and wellness. We will forever advocate for the powerful potential of paper planners. We know that planners and calendars aren’t for everyone, but setting yourself up for success is always worth the effort. If you need help staying organized this new school year, reach out to a parent or mentor for help!

Parents, use structure to provide support

We never shy away from sharing the idea that “parenting” is a bit of a false idea that largely misses the whole point of what a parent is meant to be for their kids. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. And really, all parenting comes down to is providing basic food, shelter, clothing, and education for your children. Starting with this in mind will set your mental health up to not tank whenever your kid doesn’t behave perfectly or get perfect test scores. Take the pressure off yourself (thus your kids, too), lead by example, and focus on creating a safe space for kids to grow and become the best version of themselves.

As the new school year arrives, transitioning back into the structured routines, bedtimes, and full schedules is challenging. But you are not alone. Teachers are invaluable allies. They’re great at their jobs, and their ability to educate your kids, both in academics as well as life lessons, means it’s not on you to make your kids perfect. It truly takes a village, and prioritizing supporting the professional educators on what they’re doing in your kids’ lives is probably best for everyone’s mental health.

Teachers, you are the best – now get some rest

Teachers are seasoned professionals! You guys are so good at your jobs, and the youth of our world are better because of you. If only everyone thought this way and treated teachers with the respect they deserve (including the overdue exponential increase in salary). You don’t need to be reminded of the reality of burnout. As you give your students and their families all the energy and time you’ve got, you are going to get drained. Remember, superheroes have to rest, too. Know that, like parents, you are not responsible for making kids perfect. 

By investing in their education, you are helping kids grow into the best versions of themselves. But all this energy spent must be replenished. Take time to prioritize self-care frequently, especially at the jolt of back-to-school season kicks in. Continue to offer kindness and grace during the transition, and use your expertise to help kids mindfully hone in on the wonder that is education and knowledge. Collaborate with parents as needed, and lean on your support system before you’re so overwhelmed that you can’t even reach them. Set boundaries, stick to them, celebrate your fellow educators, and remember to have fun!

Mindful media and back-to-school

This year, two-thirds of parents said they were most worried about children’s increased time on devices, including screen time and social media use. This is extremely important to acknowledge and address as media habits are immensely impactful on mental health. And that goes for all people – kids, parents, and teachers alike. Since the pandemic, screen time has increased significantly, and most notably in children. Research shows that this causes anxious and depressive symptoms

Back-to-school season is the perfect time for mindful media. Kids and teens in America are spending more time than ever on screens and social media, which has proven to be detrimental to their mental health and relationships. Mindful media is the solution. Everyone could benefit from prioritizing green time over screen time. Use the new school year as a catalyst to set boundaries and mindful media habits in your family so that authentic relationships and connection can grow.  


To reintegrate mental health into every aspect of our modern lives, we must take the time to see how big events, seasons, and changes (like the new school year) impacts our mental wellness. By mindfully considering how back-to-school and mental health are intertwined, you can set yourself, your kids, your family, your community up to thrive. Kids, be your authentic self, Parents, use structure to provide support. Teachers, you are the best – now get some rest. And remember to utilize mindful media habits to be present and connect with others at school. Being mindful in the moment this new school year is worth the effort. Happy back-to-school season, and we wish you the best this fall!

Simply Psych supports mental health clinicians as they run their small businesses, and we love to promote mental health awareness and information to the masses. We’re experts at managing the unique intersection that is mental health practice, so if you need a hand starting, growing, or scaling your private practice, we’d love to chat with you. Connect with us at

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