Resuming in-person learning can be stressful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning how to cope with the situation can help reduce anxiety and stress while boosting confidence and focus.
Amid the global COVID-19 crisis, it is important to remember that the pandemic has affected not businesses and all economic sectors, but students of all ages who are coping with their studies as well as the ongoing pandemic.
In the early months of the pandemic and during quarantine, a lot of schools and universities opted for online classes, leaving students to adapt to a new learning environment without direct interaction with their professors and classmates.
Some educational institutions have now decided to open their doors again for in-person learning, leaving students to try and figure out how to adapt quickly once again to new conditions but in more difficult circumstances.
The situation has left students feeling confused and uncertain about their studies and future which can negatively impact their physical and mental health, causing anxiety, stress, headaches, and depression, and affect their performance in school.
However, the epidemic does not seem to be changing anytime soon, which is why everyone, including students, must learn how to adapt to living with the virus, staying safe and cautious while managing their studies.
Fortunately, with the right mindset and approach, students can learn to overcome the difficult situation of the coronavirus pandemic and do their best in their studies. These are five tips that can help students adapt to their new learning conditions and help them feel more confident in their studies.
Create a routine
Starting a new school year or semester can itself be stressful and difficult for any student, especially when coping with the COVID-19 crisis. Going back in the middle of a pandemic can be scary and distract students from focusing on their studies.
Creating a regular routine can help students face uncertainty, allow them to feel more in control of the situation, balance their tasks throughout the day, and keep them focused, which can calm their nerves and anxiety.
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It also helps in managing time and focusing on each task in its proper scheduled time. For example, students can make time for their classes and revision and also make time for themselves to unwind without worrying about school work.
Building a routine is a good practice for students of all ages to give them a sense of security about things they can predict and practice habitually.
Respect safety measures
Coping with the COVID-19 crisis can be easier for students if they remind themselves of the importance of safety measures.
The safety measures imposed by governments are only enforced to protect people and reduce cases of COVID-19. However, that will only be achieved if the community collectively agrees to respect these measures to keep themselves and others safe.
To reduce some of the anxiety and stress that comes with leaving quarantine to join the outside world while the virus is still at large, students need to follow the necessary measures to keep themselves safe and do their part to fight the pandemic.
It is essential to wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before and after class, after sneezing or blowing the nose, and when getting home. Use hand sanitizers after touching public or outside surfaces.
Most importantly, wear facemasks, practice social distancing inside and outside the classroom, and eliminate hand-shaking and hugs in greetings. To increase face mask tolerance, students need to practice wearing masks everywhere they go, not just in their classrooms or in crowded places.
Reduce media consumption
Coping with the COVID-19 crisis can be difficult for students who are too absorbed in the media.
Reducing the consumption of social media can be difficult, especially after the increased use of social platforms during quarantine and the desire to stay informed about the situation and what is happening in the area.
However, excessive consumption of media and social network sites can get overwhelming, which can cause students to feel even more nervous and anxious about the situation and feel panic and fear about getting back to school.
Some media — especially social networks like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter — can also spread misinformation, which can harm students’ physical and mental health and make coping with the pandemic even more challenging.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed and anxious at the thought of going back to school, students should limit their consumption of media and social networks. Avoid relying on non-official news sources and instead look to trusted sources such as established news outlets or the World Health Organization.
Learning how to manage stress is important to improve mental health, and it is essential now more than ever during the current global pandemic. Students, in particular, can have severe stress when coping with school during COVID-19.
Signs of stress in students can include lack of motivation, a decline in academic performance, insomnia or oversleeping, bad eating habits, restlessness, fatigue, lack of energy, bad moods, nausea, stomachaches, and obsessive behaviors.
To manage stress, it is important to identify first fears and worries. They might be caused by the virus, school, or family, but no matter what the reason is, recognizing and knowing more about these fears will help one to better address them.
When students feel stressed and anxious, they can take breaks to cope with the feeling. Take a deep and slow breath to calm down, or distract yourself with brief relaxing activities such as doodling, playing a phone game, watching something funny, or talking to a friend.
Students coping with stress during this pandemic can also try positive thinking when having anxious and negative thoughts. For example, when one is thinking, “I might get the virus when I go to school,” they can change their way of thinking to, “I will practice good self-care and safety measures to stay healthy.”
Other ways to manage stress are to adopt a healthier lifestyle that will boost your energy during the day and reduce anxiety. Having a healthy diet, drinking enough water and less caffeine, getting a good night’s sleep, exercise, meditation, and practicing self-care are good ways to relieve stress.
Talk about your feelings
Talking about our feelings helps us let go of things that we are holding onto. Listening to how you are feeling out loud can help you understand yourself better, therefore dealing with your emotions better. As well, it is always nice to feel heard and listened to.
Students coping with going back to school and universities during the COVID-19 pandemic can talk to their teachers or peers who are in the same situation to feel less alone in the difficult conditions.
Talking to others who are dealing with the same things as you will allow you to help them as well cope with your own feelings.
The COVID-19 crisis has been challenging for both individuals and organizations across the globe. Feeling anxious, stressed, and confused are normal feelings that accompany a difficult situation such as this. Students can consider these tips to help in their coping with the pandemic and boost their confidence to manage their studies.