Tips to Keep Mental Health Strong While Learning Remotely

Fall campus landscape with green and orange leaves. Yellow sign that reads "Rowan University" with the Rowan torch logo.

Are you having trouble learning remotely and staying happy? Here are three things you can do that might help with stress or anxiety. Keep in mind it is important to reflect on what works for you specifically when trying to cope with mental health issues. 

Students at all levels are being challenged in 2020 to learn in a completely different way than they always have been, and on top of that are being asked to be “socially distant” from their friends. Maintaining strong mental health is a vital and often overlooked aspect of remote learning. This can take a toll after a while, but there are ways of coping with the negative feelings like loneliness, being overwhelmed or frustrated.

Here are three tips that have allowed me to have success with my classes, work two jobs on campus as well as still being happy with a clear mind.  

  • Stay Social

It has never made any sense that in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 officials mandated “social distancing” instead of “physical distancing” when our world is now well built to be social from far distances via technology. Nevertheless, having a routine that involves rarely leaving the house means you might be lacking a healthy amount of human interaction.

If you feel comfortable, you should make an effort to get together with friends in a safe way, maybe outdoors. After a long day/week of Zoom classes it’s refreshing to talk to people face to face. However, with the coronavirus still very much present at Rowan University, it’s still safest to hang out in person only with whoever is already in your social circle, meaning people who you have been living with like roommates or family members.

Students hang out on Rowan Boulevard.

FaceTime, Zoom and other video chat services are great ways to converse with friends without having to risk exposing each other to the virus.

  • Take Breaks

At all levels of education, learning has always been done in a classroom. This year that is no longer the case as many students are being asked to take class from their homes and this major change can affect how well students can concentrate.

I have always found that taking breaks is important to not overwork your brain. Depending on your schedule, you may have several Zooms lined up one after another, or you may have pre-recorded lectures to watch. For most people it is a combination of the two, but either way it’s likely that as a remote student you spend a lot of time looking at your computer screen. Stepping away in between classes or in between assignments can help reset your brain. Go eat lunch, go for a walk or even take a nap, then later on go back and complete the rest of the work you want to get done for that day.

Students take a walk on campus.

Doing anything to get your eyes and mind off of school work for a period of time will help you come back rejuvenated and sharper then you would be by trying to power through it all at once. 

  • Exercise

There is science backed behind the idea that physical exercise helps reduce anxiety, depression and overall quality of moods. Exercise can also help squash self-esteem issues as well as limit stress.

Exterior shot of Rowan Fitness Center.

From my experience, working out in the morning is a great way to start your day off from a mental perspective. It allows your mind to start off in a higher place and gives you a sense of accomplishment. To acquire this positive energy at the start of your day is more important to have now than ever given current circumstances.

With gyms hardly being open it can be difficult to workout, but lack of equipment is definitely no reason to not exercise. There are plenty of ways to work out using just your own body weight including running, push ups, squats etc. Yoga is also a great way to burn energy if traditional exercise is not your thing. 

You may want to think about adding these three tips into your daily routine if they aren’t in it already. Everyone wants to be productive in school but it should not be at the expense of your happiness. If there are ever times where things get too difficult and it feels like they aren’t getting any better, you should take a step back, take a deep breath and find the people in your life that help you see things clearly. 

This new way of life is different for everyone and remember that when things get tough you’re not alone. The pandemic has negatively affected so many lives, but the bright side is that everyone is in it together.

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

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