This is the first blog post in a new series dedicated to teen readers. This series, Real Talk for Teens, is meant to be a resource that provides you with tools, tips, ideas, new perspectives, and affirmations. The blog is a great place to start on or enhance your journey of self-exploration and curiosity about yourself and the world. Readers: You are not alone through this important stage of life! This blog, my coaching, and the experts featured in this series are here to offer you support.
Back to school is just around the corner. For some of you, this brings on some pretty heavy dread, for others this brings excitement, and for many, it’s a mashup of emotions. All of these sensations are welcome here! All of these sensations are real and valid!
This post is an invitation to self-reflect and envision yourself in the near future, beginning next school year. I invite you to use a journal or notebook for writing or sketching, print this article and write on the margins, or even just sit in quiet as you pause to think as you read. Consider finding a quiet, focused space before you begin.
First, take stock of where you are today. Notice your breath right now. Is it feeling smooth, choppy, shallow, deep, etc? Without altering it, simply notice the pattern of your breath. This is just information for you, a small snapshot of what today feels like to you and what the idea of back to school might mean to you.
Next, we take a reflective look at summer. What was a highlight of your summer? Consider: Is there an accomplishment you want to celebrate, an experience that brought you joy, or a small moment that makes you smile?
Likewise, what was a challenge or lowlight of your summer? Consider: Is there an obstacle that you have not been able to overcome, an experience that left you frustrated, or a moment that brought pain or fear?
Again, I invite you to notice your breath. Has it changed since the first time you tuned it? If so, how? You might even notice if there are parts of your body that feel comfortable and relaxed and other parts that feel tight or tense. Your only job is to notice what comes to mind.
Letting go of what doesn’t help us grow is powerful, so if there is a lowlight that you are ready to release, this is a good time to do so! You can write it down and tear it up, for example, or mentally visualize this memory leaving your mind and body, or anything else that helps you symbolically let go.
Envisioning Next School Year
With this fresh start, this new mindset, I invite you to think about next school year. Begin by creating a vision of yourself living your best life next school year. This is your unique version of a positive school experience.
What do you look like in this visual? What do your surroundings look like? Consider the following: facial expressions, who and what surrounds you, clothing, environment/space, colors/shades/textures, etc.
What are you hearing? Consider the following: talking, music, environmental noises, background noices, specific words/phrases, etc.
What are you feeling? Consider this extensive list of feeling words, body sensations, temperatures and textures, etc.
Then, with these 3 elements, I invite you to close your eyes and imagine yourself in this scene you have created. See yourself in this positive scene, listen for the noises you anticipate, and notice the feelings you are creating for yourself.
After a few minutes, or whatever amount of time feels peaceful and supportive to you, pause and notice your breath. Again, you can describe the quality of your breath and notice if it has changed since your last checked in.
Taking Care of Yourself
This visualization is one that you can return to any time you start to feel bummed out or anxious or overwhelmed before school starts. It can also be used when you are at school, and you’ve caught an emotion that is weighing on you or keeping your mind in a place of worry. Furthermore, you can create and invest in this visualization as a safe space for you to access, a way to comfort and take care of yourself.
If you have any questions or feedback about this visualization, please feel free to e-mail me. I’m wishing you all a smooth transition out of summer and into the next school year! This is your unique process, and you have the power to impact your experience in real and meaningful ways.