In the past, as crazy as that sounds, we had it pretty easy when it came to education. Everything was organized and structured – you had to get up and go to school, attend your classes and do your homework before returning to class the next day. It was an expectancy, a set standard for learners worldwide and most importantly… taken for granted. You had teachers explaining your work in detail every day.  There were structures in place that helped you understand and retain knowledge, pushed you to perform, punished you if you slacked and ultimately make sure that you would end up graduating.

Whether you had the motivation for it or not, you had to go to school and go through the motion in order to pass your grades. However, what if all of that changed? Well. It did. With Covid 19 rapidly spreading and becoming a world-wide pandemic, school and universities were forced to close their doors in order to curb the rate of infection. Physical classes were either cancelled, postponed or converted to online classes.

Getting used to a completely new and different learning platform is extremely difficult, especially if you have been used to a dedicated learning method your entire life. This brought newfound challenges to the surface, for teachers and students alike. One of the biggest challenges? Mental Health.

The sudden change in routine, lack of knowledge as to new processes implemented and the uncertainty as to the level of success it will harbor, led to the increase of several mental health issues including anxiety, depression, stress, lack of attention and motivation, and more. Even though the means for continued education were established, it still caused a major disruption when it comes to ingrained daily routines and practices – physical distancing from friends and family, strict quarantine protocols, no extracurricular activities and most importantly, a new and foreign method of education to get used to. This especially impacted senior students with set plans for university and their immediate future, including the ever-growing fear of not being able to find a job after graduating due to an even bigger and more detrimental lack of opportunities since Covid.

Mental health is extremely important and should under no circumstances be overlooked or made light of. Below is a list of 5 tips in order to help learners cope with challenges such as anxiety, stress and motivation:

Effective time management

Feeling overwhelmed due to a new lack or shift in structure is one of the biggest demotivational triggers. In order to assist, do the following:

  • Create a task calendar
  • Assign dates and deadlines to assignments, quizzes and exams
  • Allocate time periods towards studying
  • Stay organized
  • Keep a clean workspace

Adequate relaxation

Ensuring that you take necessary breaks in order to relax and relieve the pressure of studying is vital. Some relaxation options include:

  • Read a novel (unrelated to any academic work) or watch a movie
  • Videocall or text friends or family
  • Exercise
  • Listen to music
  • Keep a journal/write

Sufficient sleep

Sometimes, the simplest solution is just giving your mind a break and completely shutting off in order to rejuvenate. According to the experts, the recommended time for sleep is between 7-9 hours. Make sure that you balance your studying responsibilities with your personal responsibilities and allocate the necessary amount for a good night’s sleep.

Balanced meals

Sure, it is easy to grab a bar of chocolate, quickly order a burger or crunching on a bag of chips while giving your full attention to your studies. The issue with this, is the fact that these types of foods aren’t sufficient in order to assist you with your academic performance, as they decrease your energy. You need to focus on healthy, well balanced meals consisting of high fibre foods, fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains.

Self-reflect

Take the time to sit back and focus on how you are feeling – mentally and physically. There isn’t much you can do to rectify how you feel, if you don’t notice how you feel in the first place. Lastly, remember – there will always be someone to talk to, whether it is a teacher, family member or a friend. Never force yourself to go through a difficult time alone.