By Christine Frey of BRAIN XP


Back to school season has officially arrived, and summer is officially ending. Mixed emotions flow through the air. Excitement. Nerves. Curiosity. These feelings are completely normal. I’ve always experienced mixed emotions as I think about school starting again, but there’s one enormous feeling that lingers in my head. ANXIETY.

Anxiety has become very common in my generation. We, as teenagers, are already going through puberty and are trying to mature. Teenage life is tough to begin with, and anxiety only makes it worse. In order to help ease the anxiety that teenagers (like me) face, we have to learn how to cope. Going back to school is a major trigger for many teens, and I personally have experienced intense anxiety during this season. Although I can’t make all of our anxieties go away, I can give you my 5 best tips on how to cope with these feelings.

Keep in mind that all of these tips are based off of my personal experience. Most of these tips are ways that you can take action and advocate for yourself. I’ve worked with administrations from public schools, private schools, and charter schools. Every school is different, so your school’s accommodations may not be the same as the schools I have been to. I encourage you to try all of the 5 tips I will give, and I suggest that you approach your school’s administration to find out more specific details on their particular accommodation policy.

1. Prep

Practice your morning routine a few days before school starts. Go through the motions of a typical school day morning. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep, and DO NOT miss breakfast. This will help you get back into the flow of things much smoother than trying to jump start on the first day of school. ***If possible, check out the school campus to get familiar with the locations of the classrooms. This will bring a sense of comfort, and being comfortable can help reduce anxiety.

2. Find a Friend

On the first days of school, I recommend looking around at the other students. Try to reach out to somebody who looks like you, anxious. Connect with that person and try to help each other out with the anxieties you both are facing.

3. Fidget Toys

During class, I used to bring fidget toys such as squish balls and fidget spinners to school. If I felt anxious during class, I would play with a fidget toy in my desk to help calm me. I personally recommend purchasing a spin ring. I wear a ring on my finger everyday and it has a layer on it that can spin. Nobody notices I am trying to calm myself at all. It blends in perfectly. It gives something for my hands to do when I am fidgety during lectures.

4. Eat Lunch

You must refuel to get through the rest of your school day comfortably. Of course, I encourage you to try having lunch with other people, but it is not necessary. I didn’t really have friends, so I ate lunch in an open classroom. I sat comfortably, eating my lunch alone. I was productive though. I did homework and listened to music. Do what you are most comfortable with, but it is critical that you eat something to refuel.

5. Ask for Help

If you are struggling to cope with your anxiety, ask for help. This is not a sign of weakness. It shows courage that you can share your struggles with someone and put in effort to help yourself.

Focus on Progress!

Anxiety is a distressing feeling, but it can be managed. Do not give up if things don’t start off exactly how you want this school year. Focus on making progress!


Christine Marie Frey is the creator and author of BRAIN XP. Brain XP is a company and community created by 16 year old Christine, a teenager with mental illness dedicated to ending the stigma toward other teenagers with mental illness by “Brain XP” education – the use of contemporary music, books, videos, social media & public speaking that reaches out to teenagers to show them they are not crazy nor alone, but rather – their brains are EXPANDED and they are special. We would like to welcome Christine as a regular contributor to the CYF Liaison blog. Want to get to know Christine better? Leave a comment and we will make sure Christine gets back to you! *Note: All comments are reviewed for relevancy. Spam comments will be deleted.