Written by Ashnoor Kaur Randhawa & Prasanna Thallapalli
COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our life. Huge changes within a very short period of time have left people confused and frustrated with this virus. Education systems and students are also facing major challenges, as student life has been significantly altered since the start of the pandemic. It has undoubtedly been a difficult transition from in-person school to a hybrid of in-person and online or completely online, depending on if you’re in high school or post-secondary.
With confusing timetables, new policies and almost no social interaction, students are stressed and their mental health has been impacted. In addition, many processes, such as admissions to universities, are constantly changing and it is hard to keep up. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the future, which can be very overwhelming. This is why it is important to take time for yourself and implement self-care into your daily or even weekly routines!
Tips for managing a virtual education environment
Getting dressed in regular clothes as if you’re physically going to school is a great habit! This puts you in a productive mindset and can automatically make you feel more organized and productive, rather than staying in pyjamas all day.
Ensure that your workspace is organized and tidy, since you will be spending a majority of your day there.
Avoid distractions such as your phone or other devices by turning them off or keeping them in a separate room. It’s often hard to separate “school time” and “personal time” when it’s all happening at home. Therefore, trying to eliminate any potential distractions would be helpful.
Take regular breaks during your day. Usually you would have a bus ride, a walk, or any other type of commute to school and back. Now you have more downtime so ensure to take breaks and find ways to regain your concentration and focus.
Make sure to have a schedule for yourself to stay on track. Planning out your life when there is an increase in screen time and a heavier workload can be difficult. Managing your time is the best approach to ensure that you are able to stay on top of your tasks.
Self Care Tips
Take a walk: Nothing beats a dismal day than a refreshing walk. Even 5-10 minutes of brisk walking outdoors can enliven your spirits and help you recharge. Take deep breaths to release the tension and you'll notice an instant change in your well-being.
Connect with nature: Bring a live plant to your home or office and take pride in maintaining and preserving it. You can connect with nature in other ways, by simply affirming the beauty around you, and mindfully taking in the stars, sun, or even a cloudy day!
Sit in the sun for 15-20 minutes: Not only is the sun a natural Vitamin D source, it also helps to revitalize your energy levels. Do apply sunblock and sunscreen!
Journal about your thoughts: This can help clear your head and allow you to reflet about what is on your mind. Carry a journal with you and you'll soon find yourself turning to it more often than not. Putting thoughts to paper also helps you organize your ideas, so it can bring perspective about persistent problems and thoughts.
Make a to-do list: Putting your ideas and thoughts on paper greatly increases your chances of getting them done. Oftentimes the 'blues' is simply a feeling of being overwhelmed. Discourage this pattern by writing a to-do list and checking off each item after completion. This will improve your idea about the project or task immediately!
Read a book or magazine article: Even a short story, joke, or interesting magazine article can get you off the negative-thought train and into a new perspective for even a few minutes. Encourage your mind to drift onto a new subject once in a while so you are less likely to feel so bogged down.
Be active or exercise: Shovel snow in the winter, clean the lawn in the summer, or jump on the treadmill for 15 minutes!
Sit in a park or garden: Connecting with natural settings helps the mind and body by increasing your awareness of the world around you. At minimum, try and do this at least once per week.
Learn to forgive: We often get caught up or hung up on the trivialities of relationships because we haven't truly forgiven another person. Learn the process and joy of forgiveness, and you will realize that forgiving yourself is often the first step.
Make a list of your own life-improvements: Just for fun, make a list of areas of your life that you would like, or want to improve. This will give you a measure of what you can look forward to, even if you do not have it now.
Volunteer: The joys of volunteering are countless, but it can take some time to discover where your talents will be best suited. Learn to appreciate your strengths and apply them towards a cause you strongly believe in. The return on investment is very high!
Sing: Even if you're not a singer, sometimes you've just got to belt out your favorite song! Sing along to something you already know if you can't sing on your own, but clear your head with some uplifting music!