I still associate September with the start of a new term and year, partly because I still work in a school and partly from years as a student and then a teacher myself. I am always ridiculously thrilled by new stationery and reading lists, but that's not the whole story.
New starts mean change and the anxiety that change brings. What will the new year be like? Will I meet the expectations (both the ones I have of myself and those others might hold for me) and what will happen if I don't? Sometimes the anxiety is simply: Can I make it through another year?
Anything new is usually a mixture of exciting and unnerving. The key is for there to be balance in the mix. For me these days, returning to work after a summer break is mainly exciting and full of possibility, with just a little fear of the unknown streaked through it. Perhaps a manageable edge of nerves helps me strive to work better too, who knows?
But if your new year or back to school is tipped in favour of anxiety, nerves and dread, it may be time for a rethink. What is your fear trying to tell you?
Counselling can be a good way to work this out. I specialise in working with teachers at all stages of their careers, and I've done a lot of work in schools with both students and staff. But you don't have to be in school to get that back to work feeling. I also help clients with work related stress and managing change.
The best self help tool I've found is looking for moments of calm in the busyness of a new start. Whether you're going into a new school year, a new job, a house move or a promotion, build in pockets of steadiness for yourself. Stick to a familiar routine that brings you simple joy, whether it's having a morning cuppa or taking the dog for a walk. Listen to that piece of music that bolsters you up. Take five deep breaths and a minute to do nothing at all. These moments of calm can restore you to yourself so that you don't get lost in the frantic pace of something new.