Back to School – Fearlessly!

Congratulations to everyone who survived their first day back to school today! My first day back isn’t until Monday . . . here’s to my 22nd and final year of school!

No matter whether this is your first, tenth, twentieth, or twenty second year of school, starting a new routine can be anxiety-inducing. I don’t know about you, but during the years I battled my eating disorder, my eating habits were the first thing to suffer when the anxiety crept up. I don’t think anyone has an easy time eating when butterflies take over your stomach . . . but those butterflies better move over and make room!

Here are a few tips to help make the back-to-school transition a little easier for you:

1. Get some sleep! I know. Anxiety and sleep are not exactly best friends, and it’s hard to get to bed at a decent hour after sleeping late all summer. The sooner you can get into your new sleep routine, the better your mind and body will function. I know it sucks, but if you can try to keep a similar sleep schedule on weekends, the more easily you will adjust.

2. Plan ahead. Something as simple as making your lunch the night before can make your morning so much smoother. I always had trouble with that one. a) I always figured I’d have time in the morning, b) what if I didn’t want whatever I made by the time lunch rolled around, and c) what if I didn’t want lunch at all?

Well, a) even if you do have time, it’s like a gift to yourself not to have to worry about lunch in the morning, and what if you need to change your outfit a few too many times in the morning? b) it’s always best to have the option of something familiar and READY to eat at lunchtime. Invest in a thermos or an insulated lunch bag. If you decide not to eat your bagged lunch and buy something else instead, your lunch will still be safe to eat the day after, and c) you may not be able to work up to lunch when it rolls around, but make sure you set yourself up for success, not failure. Have a lunch ready to go, just in case. Even eating part of a lunch is better than nothing.

If you find you can’t get it together the night before, here’s my favorite, quick grab-and-go lunch:

Make sure you have the following in your fridge (Sunday nights are a great prep time):

  • cooked grains
  • cooked beans (or just always have a can on hand)
  • vegetables (pre-chopped will save time)
  • oil and vinegar
  • spices


Millet + Black Beans + Avocado + Tomatoes + Olive Oil + Apple Cider Vinegar + Cayenne Pepper = Lunch

Quinoa + Chick Peas + Cucumber + Tomatoes + Flax Oil + Balsamic Vinegar + Garlic Powder = Lunch

Get creative! The combinations are endless, and super easy to throw together in a bowl.

3. Set Timers. When you’re adjusting to a new routine, it’s hard to remember when you need to eat. If your hunger/fullness signals have been thrown off by disordered eating patterns, it’s easy to get studying and forget to come up for air . . . or food, or water. Set alarms on your phone to remind you when to eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. School will be much more enjoyable if you aren’t hangry all the time. 

4. Breathe. I know it seems like everyone is watching and judging, but for the most part, people are too wrapped up in what they’re doing and how they look and what they’re eating to focus on you. Breathe, smile, and introduce yourself to someone new. Everyone is scared. Remember that you belong, you are worthy of being anywhere you want to be, and that any room is improved for having you in it.

What things do you get hung up on when back-to-school rolls around? What helps you navigate changes in routine?

2 thoughts on “Back to School – Fearlessly!

  1. Hayley

    I love this post! I am going back to IHN in October (started there a few years ago but had to take some time off) and I’ve been so nervous and scared. This was really helpful to read. Thank you! And best wishes for a great school year 🙂


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