By: Hector Betancourt
Online school is not the end of the world and managing stress will keep you on the right track.
It’s been almost a year since the pandemic began to affect everyone globally. What we used to consider normal has been changed. School became virtual and remembering to grab a mask when we leave the house has been added in our routine. I have to say it hasn’t been easy adapting to life virtually; school is different for a lot of people. We all had what worked best for us, but now every student is experiencing the same thing: online learning. Adapting a new routine into your life is a challenge such as trying to find the best study spot, the right time to do homework or even the best lighting for Zoom calls. All these factors could lead to stress which might affect one’s ability to stay on track. Here are some tips to manage stress for online school.
Exercising is a great way to keep your body moving after sitting for long periods of time in front of the computer. Many gyms have been impacted due to the pandemic, but even just a walk or run around the block helps to lower stress levels. Improving your mood is a great benefit when it comes to working out. Yoga, for example, is a nice way to relax your body and your mind. Home workouts are now popular, and there are tons of online resources to discover helpful videos to start incorporating fitness into your schedule. Fitting in time to exercise into your schedule is a great stress reliever for the body and a great way to stay active during these times.
Getting and staying organized is a great skill to have when you want to declutter your life. I make sure my room is clean before I start class. Having a clean space helps me focus on the task I’m doing. Getting organized doesn’t just have to be what’s around you. For many, it can be therapeutic to organize their schedules. Creating a to-do list, updating your planner and re-organizing files on your computer can help make a difference. Stress can come from the mess that’s surrounding you. Let’s clean up that mess, throw away those empty water bottles and organize our lives.
Ask for help
Online learning isn’t for everyone. Some learn better in person, some thrive online. Getting help isn’t the same as it was. Before, I could just walk into my professor’s office hours to talk. Now I have to share my Zoom screen so they can understand what I’m doing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It might be nerve-wracking to hop on a teacher’s link for office hours, but know that they’re there to help. Take advantage; you don’t want to stress yourself out by not asking for help. Stressing over an assignment is not fun, so let the teacher know when you have questions. Press the “raise hand” button on Zoom (or Google Meet), talk in front of the class and get that question answered. The best stress reliever is when you get that light bulb click in your brain when you figure something out.
I do this a lot. I need breaks. I need to clear my mind. I call them “mental breaks.” I remember my teacher in high school had no decorations in his classroom, just blank walls. Everytime we felt overwhelmed, he told us to look at the wall. “The classroom is a blank canvas for creativity,” he said. I have to admit he was right. I would look at the walls to clear my mind and it helped me re-focus. Taking breaks is an easy way for stress management. Especially after looking at a screen for hours, just sitting outside for a few minutes could help. Classrooms would give us a different learning environment, but now we might be stuck in the same environment (at home). It’s time to create new zones. Online school is not the end of the world and managing stress will keep you on the right track.