With more students than ever before learning online in some capacity, stress management is becoming increasingly important for students of all ages. For high school students especially, managing stress while taking online courses is extremely important for the best mental health, the utmost success in school, and the most overall satisfaction in school and in life. Here are a few tips for online students to embrace their circumstances and manage their stress effectively.
One of the most important factors in mental health management and stress reduction is feeling connected to other people. Stay social in any way that you can while taking online classes, even if that connection is purely virtual. Schedule zoom hangouts with your friends, join an online forum centered around your favorite hobby, and interact with your digital classmates as frequently as possible. If you’re able to do so safely, join a sports team, attend a homeschool community group, or get together with friends and peers in person. Make sure you’re connecting with other people on a regular basis so that you can feel that camaraderie and know that you are not alone in your stress management and online schooling experience.
Have a Designated Workspace
With all the time that people have been spending at home lately, it can be easy to fall into a rut with being productive in your living space. When one area is used for work, play, and relaxation, it makes it harder to transition between activities, adding to your stress and frustration. You should talk to your family about creating a workspace specifically for your online learning so that you can keep your belongings all together and feel focused and organized when it’s time to get to work.
It is so easy to get lazy and sedentary when you don’t leave your house on a daily basis. But when you’re learning online, it’s especially important to remain active throughout the days and weeks. Whether you play a sport, go for a walk, or do some at-home workouts, make sure you are moving during the day. Staying active can help you focus more when you sit down to work, but it’s also good for your mental health and stress management. If you get stuck working on a math problem or need to step away from writing a paper, consider running a few laps up and down the stairs, doing some jumping jacks in the living room, or cranking out some push-ups. Whether you have a specific time set aside to exercise or simply try to work it into your day whenever you can, staying active is a vital part of managing stress while taking online classes.
Prioritizing has much to do with time management, and both are incredibly important parts of having success as an online student. If you constantly feel stressed and like you don’t have enough time to complete tasks, you may need to rework your priorities and better plan out your assignments and other responsibilities. Focus first on what absolutely has to be done that day, and then work down your list of tasks in order of importance and time sensitivity. Try to get the most important assignments done earlier in the day when you are most awake and have fewer distractions. If you have other things outside of school that require your time and attention, such as a job or housework, you may need to schedule your school time differently on different days.
Manage Time Well
This goes along with the above tip a bit, but it’s more about making the most of the time you have while you’re completing certain assignments and tasks. Try to put your phone aside, stay off social media, and stay on task with whatever you’re working on. This will help you maximize your time and keep you focused, allowing you to get your work done in less time and with fewer errors. Do your best to minimize distractions of all kinds so that you can give all of your energy and attention to what you’re working on at any given moment, allowing you to spend less time overall on school-related tasks, which will free up more time for other things. This will reduce your stress and increase the time you have for more joy-inducing activities.
In a traditional school, students typically have about an hour of instructional time before they have a break between classes. It can be easy to just keep working when you’re at home, without giving yourself a break between assignments or classes. While it can be beneficial to keep pushing through work if you’re on a roll or feel exceptionally focused, it’s important for your mental health and stress levels to take breaks regularly. Planning breaks can help you stay motivated and they can give your brain a chance to rest and refresh before getting back to work. Breaks can include a quick walk or workout, a healthy snack, or a quick TV show or dive into social media. Just be sure to be responsible with your time and don’t spend too long taking a break. If you need to, set a timer and stick to that time limit so that you are still managing your time and priorities well.
There is something about being outdoors that is just good for the soul. No matter the weather, being outside can improve your mood and mindset substantially. Maybe you work some time into your day to go for a walk or run in your neighborhood, or maybe you start the day with some quiet time on the back porch. Even just stepping outside for a few minutes to clear your head and breathe in some fresh air can do wonders for your mood, attitude, and perspective. Feeling the warm sun on your face or feeling the wind blowing your hair can reset your focus and help you work with more productivity and concentration afterward.
Negative thinking is terrible for your overall mental health and stress levels, so it’s extremely important to have a positive mindset when participating in online classes. Believing in yourself and your ability to succeed is vital, and having a growth mindset is a big key to your stress levels as well. Remember that even when you make a mistake or don’t do well at something, you are still learning and growing. You should always aim to frame your mindset around the positive aspects of learning and facing challenges, as that will help you stay positive and joyful even when things are hard. Good things can be found in just about every single situation and struggle, so do your best to find those silver linings and focus on them. It can be hard work to create a positive inner dialogue, but the more you practice doing so, the easier it will become.
Laughter is good for the soul, and it’s great for de-stressing. Scientists have proven that laughter can reduce stress and improve positive mindsets and good mental health, so do whatever it takes to laugh more often. Even on hard days, a silly video online or a quick listen to your favorite comedian can do wonders for your mood, which can then increase your concentration and productivity. During the times when you’re not completing schoolwork, try to find opportunities to laugh and enjoy humor with family and friends. During the school day when you’re stressed out or feeling overwhelmed with assignments, plan to watch some funny videos or look at funny memes during a break to release some tension and reset your positivity for decreased stress and increased focus.