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7/27/22 blog post

going back-to-school with a chronic condition

Whether you’ve been living with a chronic condition for years or you were recently diagnosed, the transition from summer to a new school year can add physical and mental stressors that make managing your condition more difficult.

As you prepare for the upcoming school year, consider these healthy habits using the SMART approach from our specialists and download your very own condition-specific checklist!


  • Get regular sleep every night, even on the weekends. Eight to ten hours is best.
  • Turn off your phone at bedtime. Use an alarm clock separate from your phone.
  • Turn off all devices (TV, tablets, video games, phone).
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid napping.


  • Eat healthy well-balanced meals at least three times a day.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. Eat something, even if it’s a small amount.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay hydrated. Children ages 5 to 10 years old should aim for 48 ounces of water each day. While children 10 years of age or older should aim for 64 ounces of water each day.
  • Drink more water when exercising. Pre-hydrate one to two hours before activity.


  • Get 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Limit screen time to less than two hours per day.
  • Slowly increase activity duration and frequency to make it a habit.
  • Choose an activity you enjoy and recruit a buddy. It’s more fun with a friend, family member or pet.
  • If your condition occurs or limits your ability to participate in physical activity, skip the exercise, practice or game and talk with your primary care provider.


  • Stress is a normal part of life. There can be good stress and bad stress.
  • Stress is one of the biggest triggers for chronic conditions.
  • Learn to manage stress in a healthy way. Try to resolve worries before going to bed.
  • Consider these ways to relax:
    • Deep breathing
    • Tensing and relaxing muscle groups throughout the body
    • Mindfulness, meditation
    • Yoga
    • Counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy
    • Biofeedback


  • Manage triggers that contribute to your condition. Triggers can look different for each individual and each condition but typically fall into the categories of environment, hormones, diet and stress.

Download your very own condition-specific checklist and stay on a path to healthy habits this school year!