For many students, attending an online school is actually better for their mental health than in-person schools. But even students who enjoy online learning can find themselves struggling at various times. Here are some tips specifically for online students to help you ensure you're caring for your mental and emotional health as you learn.
Small Ways to Care For Your Mental Health
Mental health is just as important as physical health. We all need that reminder to treat ourselves kindly, and the past few years has made that more apparent. Here are some tips to help you take care of yourself (and your brain!)
Get Plenty of Rest & Downtime
Long days at your desk can take a physical and mental toll on your wellness. Computer fatigue is very real and can severely impact focus during long hours of classwork. Routine breaks to stretch, take walks, and relax your mind can make great strides toward feeling renewed. When we step outside, we get the necessary boost in serotonin that strengthens our focus and increases happiness.
Getting plenty of rest includes forming a proper sleep schedule each night. If your sleep schedule changes nightly, your body takes longer to fall into REM sleep, essential for learning and memory.
Be Patient With Yourself
Sometimes it’s easier to give grace to others than to ourselves. We’re always our harshest critics, so remember to provide yourself with some patience and set realistic goals. If you see an obstacle that seems too big, try breaking it down into smaller tasks. By tackling each challenge with small steps, you’ll be moving closer to your goal. Whenever you see progress, it motivates the mind to keep moving forward.
If you make mistakes along the way, try to remember that mistakes are part of the human experience. We all make mistakes. Learning from those mistakes is what helps us grow into our best selves.
Tweak Your Study Schedule
Study when your mind is most alert! Everyone absorbs information differently, which is why online schools have tailored schedules to fit your unique needs. If you’re not feeling alert while studying, you can adjust your schedule to better work with your learning style.
Whenever times get tough on your mental well-being, write down when those moments occur. It helps to learn about yourself to adjust your schedule to fit your needs. The more you know about yourself, the better you can understand your triggers and take steps to overcome them.
Break Free From Isolation
Online school can be a socially isolating experience, so remember to schedule a time to socialize. While some students who face social anxiety will find this a significant benefit of the online experience, other students may feel an increase in loneliness during the semester. You can push back against isolation by carving out some time to spend with friends and family, whether in-person or in other online outlets.
Ask For (& Accept) Help
It’s natural to want to handle things independently, but we all need support. Communicating your thoughts and feelings can be a great help in pushing through mental health barriers. Your online school has many great resources to help students through the semester. Whenever you get stuck with a homework assignment or need some general advice, don’t hesitate to reach out and get the information you need to succeed.
It can be freeing to know that other people relate to our experiences when seeking advice from people who have overcome these challenges. Therapy, family, friends, and teachers can provide friendly support during hard times.
There are lots of ways to care for yourself as you learn online. By taking small steps--including intentional downtime, asking for help, and doing things you enjoy--you'll be in a better position to keep rocking your classes. Your mental health matters, so prioritize it as you would your physical health.
If you need more help in your mental health battles, please reach out to us for help this semester.