Students in many parts of the world have made significant changes to their daily routine to slow the spread of Covid-19, also known as the novel coronavirus. In order to practice social distancing students have refrained from going back to their classrooms and have switched to eLearning. While analyzing students’ mental health, it is clear that the huge shift in their routines and the stress of the virus has had a negative impact on them. It is possible for students to manage their mental health needs and be academically successful during the 2020-2021 eLearning school year.
STRATEGIES FOR STUDENTS
Establish a Routine
Having a routine is key to being successful. It will make it easier to balance the new stressors of online classwork with the rest of your life. Try to mirror your routine from when you were physically attending school. The most challenging part of the schedule is sticking to it. Asking a friend to hold you accountable can be very helpful. Review your routine with your friend and explain the expectations. Not only will your friend be there to support you, but you can both motivate each other. Better mental health is a direct result of just a little extra planning.
How to Start a Routine
- Set goals
- Layout a plan
- Be consistent with time
- Be prepared
- Make it fun
- Track your progress
- Reward yourself
eLEARNING STUDY HABITS DOS AND DON’TS
- Do NOT do school work in bed
- Keeping a formal schedule and sticking to it
- Establishing a reliable study-space in your own home
- Have your own deadline
- Know when to ask for help
- Email or reach out to a teacher when having difficulties
Take Control of Your Mental Health
If you are feeling anxious you aren’t alone. Many students feel triggered with all the changes and challenges brought on by Covid-19. The virus has significantly emotionally impacted children and teenagers around the world. Taking care of your mental health is your responsibility. Utilizing a structure to your day can give you a sense of control. It can also improve your mood, attitude, focus, organization, time management, and productivity. Feeling empowered, organized, and responsible with your school work helps you feel accomplished and not overwhelmed. Now that your responsibilities are managed you can make time for self-care.
Your sleep schedule and bedtime habits affect your mental sharpness, performance, emotional well-being, and energy level. Begin implementing your healthy sleep schedule two weeks prior to school starting. Establish a bedtime routine and avoid electronic devices before going to bed. Mornings can be challenging, but it’s an amazing feeling being able to easily wake up and feel well rested. Cognition, learning, and memory are all affected by sleep. Having a good sleep schedule will help you transition into eLearning.
Improve Self-care and Socializing
Online students don’t attend a physical classroom. Therefore, they don’t get the opportunity for face-to-face interactions with fellow students. For some students, lack of social interactions can lead to feelings of isolation. It can be challenging interacting with friends through social distancing. Simple self-care strategies can help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. Try to get creative and come up with some ideas you and your family are comfortable with so you can interact with your friends. In addition to socializing, self-care is necessary to strengthen your mental health (e.g., walk, jog, tennis, yoga, dance, art, journaling, listening to music).
Be kind to yourself and each other. We’ll work through eLearning together.
If you are going through a difficult time emotionally and your feelings do not improve, consider reaching out to a mental health professional or seeking online therapy. With the right information and resources, we can #BeTheDifference for students and families during Covid-19.
Teen Mental Health First Aid is a program which is expanding and will be available to every school in the county in Fall of 2020. Learn more at mhfa.org/teens.
Stacey Steinbaum, Clinical Therapist, MSW, LCSW, CCTP