Pursuing an education was already a draining proposition before COVID-19 temporarily rewrote the playbook. Now, learning online, in a socially distanced classroom, or via a hybrid of these two options, has become downright exhausting.
As a student, it’s important to take extra precautions to protect yourself from the additional fatigue this can create. Here are a few recommendations for various ways to protect both your mind and your body from the added stress that comes with schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Identify Your Social Support Network
Research regarding lockdown fatigue amongst college students has shown that one of the most important factors to success had to do with social support. Those who perceived a higher social support experience tended to fair better in confinement and lockdowns.
With that in mind, it’s critical that you maintain a solid social support network throughout your time in college. This is particularly challenging during a pandemic. Fortunately, we live in the 21st-century, and there is a plethora of alternative forms of communication that can be used to remain connected to your social network (i.e. your close friends and family), including:
- Phone calls.
- Text messages.
- Social media.
- Video chats.
- Handwritten letters.
As you go through school, remain in close contact with your social support network at all times. This can help you identify, process, and address fatigue when it arises.
Consider Your Home Study Setup
One of the most obvious physical barriers to overcome is maintaining your physical health when you’re endlessly studying in lockdown. The need to do homework and attend virtual classes can keep you strapped to your desk and staring at a screen for countless hours every day. You can mitigate the undesirable physical effects that this causes by:
- Adopting a good “deskercise” routine that includes plenty of stretching.
- Get a good pair of contacts or glasses that block UV light when you’re outdoors and help with blue screens indoors.
- Take breaks regularly while you’re studying and then physically get up and move around.
Maintaining your physical condition and endurance can help you remain at the top of your game while you learn from the homefront.
Fight the Mental Battle Daily
Finally, it’s important to make a proactive effort to fight for your mental health. This isn’t a one time deal, but a consistent task that must be tended to on a daily basis.
Letting things like stress go unattended can lead to a variety of different symptoms that can impact your ability to study and learn. This includes things like listening and communication problems, speech issues, developing depression and anxiety, and even poor motor skills. Fight back by:
- Silencing your inner critic and staying positive.
- Eating, sleeping, and exercising regularly and in healthy quantities.
- Maintaining communication with your school’s counseling center.
- Leaning on your social support network.
- Meditating daily.
- Unplugging from your devices when you’re not studying or attending classes.
By taking steps to preserve your mental health, you can ensure that you’re in the best state of mind as you tend to your studies.
Guarding Your Mind and Body
Your educational journey was always meant to be busy. Classes, homework, and exams were going to leave you feeling drained, regardless of the circumstances.
Nevertheless, the unique situation that the coronavirus has created has made it more important than ever to take steps to proactively protect your mind and body from fatigue. So build that social network, perfect your home-study situation, and keep fighting the battle for your mental health every day. Above all, regularly remind yourself that this too shall pass.
Keep your chin up! We’ll all get through this together.
BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.