Posted by ICON School on Mar 16, 2022 4:43:17 PM

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 struggle at various times. Here are some tips for online students to help you ensure you care for your mental and emotional health as you learn. We also have tips to help parents support their kids' mental health as well. Let's dive in. 

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 have made that more apparent. Here are some tips to help you care for 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, break it down into smaller tasks. You’ll be moving closer to your goal by tackling each challenge with small steps. 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 and take steps to overcome your triggers.

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.

How Parents Can Help

It can be challenging for parents to know the best ways to help their teens cope with mental health struggles while attending an online school. While talking about mental health may be difficult, these conversations are important for helping your teen through these challenging times. You want to show your support so that your child knows you care and that you want to help them succeed. Here are some ways that you can help share support for your teen during their online school journey.

Understand Their Struggles

The first step for parents is to understand their teenager’s struggles. Remember back to your own teen experience and try to understand how the age of social media can impact mental health. As your teens enroll in an online school, the amount of time they stare at a computer will take up much of their days.

COVID-19 has revealed that excessive screen time affects people’s digital well-being, and you might even notice a change in your mental health with the increase of screens in your life. To have a meaningful conversation with your teen, you first need empathy for your teen’s experiences.

Encourage Conversations

Many teens want to speak up but feel their parents haven’t created a safe atmosphere to speak freely about the daily struggles they face. When a teen feels comfortable, you should allow them to talk whenever they’re having a tough time. Ask them about their mental well-being and how they’re handling online school. Whenever they speak about their health, validate their feelings and make sure they feel understood and encouraged.

As parents, sometimes we want to jump right in and try to solve the situation, but this can sound judgmental or dismissive if we aren’t careful. Instead, take the time to hear them out and empathize with their feelings. Some ways you can encourage conversation is to:

  • Unplug from what you’re doing
  • Listen to everything they say before responding
  • Acknowledge their struggles exist

Remember to be encouraging, and if you’ve had mental health battles in your own life, share any solutions that helped you.

Help Find a Solution

Be careful not to force a solution on your teen since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to mental health struggles. The best way to find a helpful solution is to find the solution together. However, depending on their mental health, there may be situations when they aren’t looking for an answer at that very moment. They may need to chat a few times before you find the right answers.

If your student’s mental health stems from the challenges of an online school, you can discuss ways to change their online learning schedule to fit their needs. They may need to learn at different hours of the day, a different location in the house, or take more breaks during the day to spend outdoors.

Don't Forget About You

When we strive to help others, we can form a habit of forgetting about ourselves. Whenever you hold in your mental health battles, you may unknowingly teach your children that they also have to. If your teens know that you also struggle, these conversations can bond you closer as you strive for positive mental health. Model self-care in ways like:

  • Having healthy eating habits
  • Implementing better sleep schedules
  • Socializing with others
  • Taking walks outside
  • Having time to relax

How we react to our struggles teaches our teens how they should respond. When you seek the self-care you need, we can help our teens cope with their mental health needs.


There are lots of ways to care for yourself as you learn online, and lots of ways parents can support teens, too. 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.

ICON School

Written by ICON School

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