Caring for Mental Health When Studying Online
In recent years, online courses have gained in popularity. The trend towards online study was exacerbated in the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when even many courses that were supposed to be face to face moved partially or wholly online. Online study has many advantages in terms of giving students greater flexibility in where and when they study, but many students have also noted that it can have a negative impact on their mental health, raising issues that students should consider before embarking on their course.
Mental health hazards of online study
Online study often means a greater responsibility falling on the student to organize their time and workspace. This may lead to students feeling stressed and anxious, as they face worries about having the correct tools for online study and possibly also the distractions of living in a shared home. Such worries may lead to students trying to do too much or alternatively allowing it to get in the way of studying and subsequently falling behind.
Beyond the practicalities, there are other mental health issues that can affect online learners. Online lessons can lead to a sense of unreality, as teachers and other students alike appear simply as faces on the screen rather than real people. It can be harder to build up a relationship with them when missing the everyday actions of face-to-face learning. This can lead to students feeling isolated and lonely without the sense of community that a physical place of learning can offer.
Spending a lot of time on a screen can affect the body's internal clock, a process known as the circadian rhythm. A common side effect of this is insomnia, something that may impact on both physical and mental health.
Tackling the issues
Even as the pandemic eases and students are able to return to face-to-face learning, online study remains the sensible option for many. When choosing an online course, it is a good idea to find one with an established reputation of caring for its online students. Wilkes University tuition, for example, offers the flexibility of online study, while also providing mentoring and faculty support from expert practitioners to help students flourish both academically and mentally.
Other tips for boosting mental health while completing online studies include:
Set a routine - having a study timetable is an effective way to ensure optimal levels of study and will also aid other household members in knowing when they need to give you space.
Keep socializing - while it may not be possible to meet with classmates, try to maintain a social life wherever you are studying to avoid loneliness and isolation.
Online socializing - don't just see classmates for tuition. Online games or social events can help build that sense of camaraderie and allow friendships to form.
Vary the study location - online study doesn't have to mean staying in a bedroom or home office. Today's communication methods mean that study could take place in a quiet café, a shady spot in a park, or almost anywhere you can think of.
Take exercise - exercise boosts the mood and also provides a much-needed break from concentrating on a screen.