Remote learning has been implemented in schools worldwide because of the CoViD-19 pandemic. But many students have found it hard to cope with this shift. In a New York Times article published early on in 2020, 27 students shared difficulties they experienced as they began to adapt to their new online learning routines:
Students missed hanging out with friends and making new connections.
They weren't able to participate in in-person activities, watch live school events, and pursue sports and other interests.
They often felt pressured because schoolwork had become more overwhelming.
Managing time while studying at home was more challenging than studying in an environment specifically designed for schoolwork.
They often procrastinated because there are a lot of distractions at home.
They often felt unmotivated and found it hard to be more engaged.
Outside factors (the pandemic, environmental crises, and other socioeconomic circumstances) increased stress levels and badly affected the students’ academic performance.
Overall, online learning can be stressful. But effectively managing physical and mental stress can get you one step closer to a better remote learning experience.
Here are seven stress management tips you can use to maintain your well-being and to improve your remote learning experience.
Familiarize yourself with the available productivity apps and pick a set of tools that suits you best. Having a set of productivity tools you're comfortable with makes it easier to study from home. Switching too frequently between apps or using redundant platforms quickly becomes confusing and requires too many adjustments too often.
Most online courses require students to use in-house platforms provided by the school. Students in Imperial College Business School, for example, use an all-in-one platform called The Hub to access their references, connect with others, and track their progress online. Beyond those required tools, however, you're going to need other apps to supplement your remote learning needs.
Here are other user-friendly productivity tools and apps that are available for free. They're categorized according to use so you can pick the ones that complement the set of platforms you're using right now.
Decluttering is effective in boosting productivity. One popular way to do this is Marie Kondo’s decluttering method. Keep only what brings you joy and let go of the rest. Then, organize everything according to which ones you're going to be using the most.
Having a dedicated study space can condition you to focus better. When you put everything related to schoolwork in one place, you easily recognize what that spot is for. It puts you in the mood for academic work since everything you need is within reach. This is similar to feeling lazy when you're in bed or getting hungry when you hang out in the kitchen.
Maintaining a schoolwork schedule trains your mind and body to dedicate a specific amount of time to studying consistently. Effective time management allows you to rush and stress less since you're finishing projects as planned and meeting deadlines.
Try to create a daily schedule and ration your time. For example, allot 8 hours a day to study every day so you can work out exactly what needs to be done and when. Your daily plan could look like this:
Remote learning requires a lot of screen time. If you're also playing games and taking video calls for the rest of the day, the prolonged continuous exposure to screens can cause digital eye strain. Make sure to take breaks from looking at your computer monitor and set a time to switch off your mobile phone. See if your required readings can be found in printed form so you don't have to always be looking at a screen and getting stressful headaches because of it.
Here are more tips you can use to beat eye strain:
Use glasses with blue light protection or anti-glare coating.
Eye drops can help ease eye strain throughout the day.
Make sure your monitor is 20 to 30 inches away.
Change the font size on your computer to a more readable size.
Adjust your monitor’s brightness to match the lighting in your study area.
Use a slightly cooler filter for your monitor during the day and a warmer one at night.
Hard work is commendable but too much of anything only gets you more stressed. The Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day and a consistent sleep schedule. Getting a good night’s sleep can help you conserve energy and feel refreshed the next day.
Taking a brisk 10-minute walk can get your body to release endorphins (feel-good hormones). Regular exercise can improve your mood and boost your overall physical and mental health so set aside time in your daily schedule for a quick walk or run. Ten to twenty minutes is more than enough. Even just jogging in place in the morning can warm you up and get you ready for the day.
Social distancing protocols should not limit social interactions and collaboration. You may not be able to physically attend a class but you can work and communicate with your teachers and classmates online. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends and ask for help when you need it. It doesn't have to be through a video call; a simple text can go a long way. Open communication can give you a sense of community that can ease the stresses of remote learning.
Share your personal remote learning experiences and help fellow students on OSAU today!