Maybe your school decided to go remote over winter break, or you chose virtual education for health reasons. Distance learning solves some problems while creating others — like loneliness and associated mental health concerns.
However, you can take proactive steps to remain happy and balanced regardless of where you attend class. Here’s how to take care of your mental health if you’re still remote learning.
What happens when you need something and can’t find it? You fly into a panic, especially if time is of the essence. This reaction causes a surge of hormones that raises your blood pressure. Sure, you recover — but ongoing bouts of such stress take a toll on your mental health.
The solution is to get yourself organized. Take a full weekend if you want, arranging your notes and your browser’s bookmarks so you can find the right interactive tool or study material in seconds.
2. Schedule Your Time
Another panic-inducer is realizing the 10-page paper you haven’t even started yet is due tomorrow. Plus, it counts for 30% of your final grade. Yikes.
Get yourself on point by choosing an app or print planner and sticking to it. At the beginning of the semester, write down all critical due dates and a timeline for completing essays and studying for exams. Sit down each Sunday evening to chart your week and look over your to-do list each day, adjusting time estimates for tasks as necessary. The calm you’ll experience knowing you’re on top of everything will benefit your mental wellness.
3. Leave Room to Breathe
Human beings aren’t machines. You weren’t born to work from morning to night without a break. You exist as a glorious miracle of creation endowed with the ability to enjoy all the richness life has to offer. Give yourself time to breathe and savor the things you love.
When completing daily tasks, try the Pomodoro method. You work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. After three periods, give yourself a longer breather of a half-hour or so.
You also need a carrot to make the daily grind worth it and avoid falling into despair. Plan a treat for yourself closer to home if your student budget doesn’t leave room for an end-of-semester vacation. You’re never too old for a sleepover with your BFFs — and a pajama jammy-jam is an occasion worth working toward.
4. Take Care of Your Physical Health
If you neglect your physical health, your psyche suffers, too. Your mind and body share an unbreakable link. For example, deficiencies in certain nutrients can lead to psychological disorders. Some patients rapidly recover from depression when given supplemental magnesium if they aren’t getting enough through their diet. You can find this nutrient in nuts and seeds.
Eat a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods close to their natural forms. Are you on a cafeteria plan? Treat your plate as a clock when you go, filling half of it with fresh fruits and veggies. These contain various antioxidants and other nutrients your brain needs to optimize your neurological health.
Likewise, prioritize exercise — especially if you work while attending school. It may seem like a burden to squeeze one more thing in, but you need the energy boost from regular workouts to tackle your overwhelming load. You should be getting approximately 30 to 45 minutes daily, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Something is always better than nothing, and many of today’s fitness apps have workouts you can do in as little as five or 10 minutes.
5. Get Involved in Social Activities
You might be a remote learner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave your home. Even folks with health concerns can participate in safer outdoor activities where everyone abides by social distancing rules and wears a mask.
If you have clubs that interest you on campus, why not sign up? You can also meet new people through volunteering. Doing good deeds benefits your mental health by releasing a flood of positive neurotransmitters.
If you must quarantine, connect using technology. Why not schedule a once-weekly Facetime with your BFF in another state? The interaction will benefit you both.
6. Use Your Campus Mental Health Resources
Most universities have mental health centers on campus. Consider visiting it if you haven’t stepped foot inside yours since orientation, especially if you feel like you’re struggling with depression or anxiety.
Health care doesn’t get any more affordable after you graduate. Take advantage of this opportunity for free or low-cost mental help.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is critical to your mental health. Many students pull the occasional all-nighter, but try to minimize them — remember that hint about making a schedule?
Consider tools like a bed tent or eye mask to block excess light when burning the midnight oil if you have a roommate. Noise-canceling headphones can be a lifesaver. Relax into dreamland with a quiet guided meditation, even if your roomie decides death metal helps them focus.
Mental Health Tips While Remote Learning
Remote learning has many advantages, but it can feel isolating. Loneliness can take a toll on your mental well-being.
However, you aren’t a prisoner chained to your laptop. You have the power to take control of your educational experience and make it positive. Follow the seven tips above to maintain your mental health while remote learning.