2020 was a unique year for everyone. While life around the globe was impacted by the pandemic, though, there’s one group of individuals who often felt the change of pace more than others: students.
Image Source: Pexels
Rather than spending their time in dorms, attending classes, and fraternizing around their school or campus, most students found themselves moving their education online. Sure, they were able to continue their academic pursuits in this manner, but the isolation that comes with living and working alone quickly became a serious struggle for many.
How Remote Learning Has Impacted Student’s Mental Health
It should come as no surprise that shifting to remote learning has had an impact on students. In some cases, this shift has been for the better, while at other times, it’s been less good. For instance, one study found that students’ reading capabilities continued to rise when learning from home while their mathematical skills slowed.
When it comes to mental health, in particular, the results have once again been mixed. For instance, another study showed that the risk of anxiety for 13- to 14-year-old girls during the pandemic dropped from 54% to 10%. Though less dramatic, boys of the same age also experienced a drop.
At the same time, yet another study found that 71% of college students indicated an increase in stress and anxiety. This impacted their ability to concentrate, sleep, socialize, and perform academically.
With such mixed results, it’s clear that the pandemic has had a different impact depending on the individual, the age, and the situation.
What Students Can Do Moving Forward
The pandemic led to a unique set of circumstances. Without warning, many were found scrambling to continue their education online. Quarantines kept them cooped up inside, as well, with little to no preparation.
For some, this change in scenery was a Godsend. For others, it left them feeling anxious, stressed, and troubled.
If you or your students are amongst the latter and are facing another year of remote learning — whether it’s due to the coronavirus pandemic or not — here are a few tips to help maintain your collective mental health as you go along.
Start with Basic Self-Care
Self-care has gotten a bad rap lately as it’s slowly come to represent splurging, unnecessary expenses, and selfish behavior. However, proper self-care is actually a very important part of surviving and thriving — especially in a remote learning scenario. Of course, this isn’t referring to getting massages and eating pizza while binging Netflix. Instead, make sure to focus on three critical self-care areas:
- Food: Make sure that you’re feeding your body what it needs. Good, nutritious food is important to ensure good mental health.
- Exercise: From releasing endorphins to getting fresh air, daily exercise is a critical part of keeping your mind alert, awake, and uplifted.
- Sleep: Good sleep is a great preventative for stress, anxiety, and depression. Make sure that you’re getting at least seven hours every night.
Beginning with basic self-care needs is a great way to jumpstart your mental health this school year.
Consider Getting a Pet
Pets can be incredible sources of support for a stressed mind and troubled thoughts. Dogs, in particular, have become well known as emotional support lifelines.
If you’re facing prolonged time in continued isolation, consider getting a pet to help you through each day.
The operative term here is “consider.” Make sure to take the time to think through what is required to purchase, prepare for, and raise a puppy or other animal. If you think you can handle the responsibility, it can be a great way to maintain your mental health.
Look Into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
If you find that your mental health is deteriorating, you may want to consider seeing a therapist. This can be done either in person or online, depending on your circumstances.
A therapist can use tools like cognitive behavioral therapy to break thought patterns and cyclical thinking. They can help you identify the deeper causes of your mental struggles and root out cognitive distortions.
Keeping Your Mind Alive and Well This School Year
No matter how healthy you are in your body, it’s all too easy for the minds of students and educators alike to come under stress during the school year. This is especially true if you’re planning on spending another school year in remote learning isolation.
If you’ve found over the past year that you or your pupils don’t adapt well to learning alone, don’t just accept the next year as an inevitable trial that you have to get through.
Instead, consider the above tips and look for ways to bolster your mind for the next several months. Get a pet, visit a therapist, and make sure you’re taking care of your basic self-care needs. Your body will thank you when the classes start and the assignments begin to land in your inbox.
And don’t forget, schools also play an important role in improving students’ mental health.
Find out below how your school can help: