Starting a new school year can bring up a mix of emotions – excitement for what’s to come, hope for a clean slate, but also fear of falling back into damaging friendships and patterns. Here are my tips to start it all off right, and the essential reminders to hold on to as the year goes by:
Find your mantra. Whether it’s a quote, a song (or a whole playlist!), or even a quick workout, find something that makes you feel confident, empowered, brave, and bold, and then start each day with it. By the end of the night, it’s easy to feel drained and defeated. Enter each day with the belief that it can be a great one. Budget a few minutes into your morning routine to take a deep breath, call upon your mantra (whatever form it may take), and walk into the day ahead recharged.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Whether it’s a new look for the new year, or joining a club you’ve been eyeing, adding some variety to your life can help offset or prevent falling into old patterns and despairing cycles. Fight the urge to settle for comfort and keep yourself open to new possibilities. It’s hard to remain hopeful when you feel trapped within your relationships, but sometimes even the smallest step outside your comfort zone can open a door that once felt locked shut. Don’t underestimate the potential that a new school year can hold!
Prioritize. Start the year off right by assessing what you most hope to accomplish this year – personally and academically. It’s important to have goals in every aspect of your life, so even in the times when you feel stuck, you’re constantly moving towards a greater purpose. Whether it’s acing a certain subject, standing up for yourself more at the lunch table, or simply feeling more secure in your own skin, back to school is the perfect time to hit the ground running on what matters most to you; lean into the things that bring you joy and confidence. Are your actions in line with taking you where you want to go? Gently bring yourself back to these goals when things start to feel like they’re heading off course.
Trust your gut. For me, the most frustrating aspect of girl bullying was the constant questioning if what I was experiencing was real or not. It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of it all, and you may walk away feeling like you’re the crazy one after all. You are not crazy. Know that, deep within yourself, and don’t allow the doubts and insecurities to build up each day and tell you otherwise. Your feelings are justified because what you are experiencing is real and not okay. Your experience is valid; don’t let anyone – or even yourself – convince you otherwise.
Remember, there is life after girl bullying. In the darkest days, know that this will pass. Life exists beyond those school doors, and friendships exist beyond these girls.