Studying During a Pandemic: Managing Stress and Anxiety Among Students

The coronavirus pandemic not only affected businesses and employees. It also had a huge impact on the education sector. The stay-at-home policy forced students of all levels to take their classes online to prevent the spread of the virus. Many affordable colleges and universities migrated to online platforms during the first wave.

Apart from keeping the students safe, studying from home has its advantages. For example, you don't need to wake up early to attend your morning classes. Regardless of the convenience, staying at home for a long period can have an impact on your mental health. 

Understanding The Risks of Social Isolation

Health experts recommend practicing social distancing, together with wearing face masks, to control the spread of the virus. That is why the government ordered the people to stay in their homes as much as possible and limit their time outside. 

Months after the pandemic started, many people start experiencing the effects of social isolation. Distancing yourself from other people can cause loneliness. According to a report by the American Psychological Association (APA), loneliness and isolation can result in several health conditions, including depression, faster cognitive decline, a decline in cardiovascular function, and poor sleep quality, among others.

Older adults have a higher risk of feeling isolated. The pandemic, however, has also affected the mental health of the younger generation. A 2020 survey shows 64 percent of teens said the COVID-19 experience will have a lasting impact on their mental health. 

Additionally, the survey reveals that 55 percent of teens have experienced anxiety, 45 percent experienced excessive stress, and 43 percent experienced depression. The pandemic also increased the feeling of loneliness among 61 percent of teens. 

Managing Stress and Anxiety While Learning at Home

Online learning is a convenient alternative during this difficult time. This setup, however, is not for everyone. Since you're taking your classes at home, you'll likely be easily distracted by the television, your pet, or your bed. 

Letting yourself get distracted can lead to poor academic performance. Learn to manage your stress and anxiety to keep your mental health in check.

Here are four practices you can do to improve your online learning experience. 

1. Find ways to focus

One of the challenges people who study and work from home face is to stay motivated and to focus on what they're doing. It's normal to feel unmotivated during this challenging time.

Establishing a routine can help you stay focus. For instance, consider getting up, doing your work, and going to bed at the same time every day. You should also create a separate learning space so you can draw a line between your school work and your home. 

2. Reach out to other people

One of the best things about attending school is making new friends and spending time with them. But due to social distancing protocol, you can't see your friends as often as possible. 

Social distancing, however, doesn't mean you can't connect with other people outside your bubble. Thanks to technology, you can easily reach out to your friends and classmates without risking your health. During this trying time, you would need as much social support as possible. Catching up with your friends can help you stay motivated and less likely to feel lonely. 

You can also talk to your family. Discuss with them the struggles you're facing with online learning. They might be able to help you out with your problems.

3. Communicate to other people in your home

Since the stay-at-home policy has been implemented, you're likely been spending a lot of time with your family. This makes it harder to study, especially when the house gets noisy during certain hours. 

Talk to your family about your learning situation. Tell them when you plan to study or when you're taking classes, so they can give your some quiet time and not disturb you.

4. Inform your professors about your situation

If you think your anxiety and stress are affecting your performance, try to talk to your professors about it. They're likely experiencing pandemic-related challenges, as well, so they might understand your situation. 

Don't hesitate to seek out advice or assistance by sending them an email or talking to them directly after class. They might be able to provide you with resources you can use to overcome the issues you're facing, be it academically or personally.

It's normal to feel lonely and isolated during this difficult time. But don't let the situation affect your mental health. Everyone has their own way of coping with the COVID blues. Try different things until you find something that will work for you.

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