Transitioning from high school to university is an exciting time for many young adults. However, it also poses many challenges, more so with the recent switch from on-campus life to studying remotely.
Many students may be struggling with enforced social isolation while trying to navigate new routines and manage ways to excel at their studies.
While some stress may be inevitable, learning how to cope while studying remotely in this new COVID19 world can help maintain mental health and well being despite challenges.
University life can affect the mental well being of any student at any time. While first year students may be coping with the transition from high school to university and moving away from home, along with other students, they may also face:
- Academic pressures
- Financial worries
- Social isolation and loneliness
A recent Sydney University study found that young adults attending university were at high risk of experiencing mental health problems with rates of anxiety-mood disorders higher than that of the general population.
The study found:
- An estimated 75% of adult mental health conditions emerge by the age of 24
- One in four young Australians has a mental health condition
- Poor mental well being and high levels of psychological distress can result in students being unable to meet their academic and other day-to-day commitments
Further, a 2017 study by the National Union of Students found that seven out of 10 students scored their own mental health as “poor or fair”.
Strategies for Successful Remote Study
For some, studying at home may be a welcome change to on-campus lectures, but others may still be coming to terms with the best way to study in an informal setting.
Having a positive approach, taking regular breaks and maintaining a routine can be beneficial. Exercising, eating well and getting plenty of sleep will also help you stay motivated and healthy.
Here are four tips to help maintain your mental health while studying remotely.
Maintain a Routine
It is important to treat remote study as if you were still on-campus, so you don’t fall behind with your work. To prevent this, create a daily routine that will provide structure to your week. Start by organising a schedule or calendar of what classes are on, when assignments are due and maintain regular study and break times. Being organised in this way can help reduce stress.
Create a dedicated space for study, minimise distractions and consider using techniques such as the Pomodoro method to stay focused.
When it’s time for a break get up and move away from your screen and study materials. Do something completely different for a short period to give your eyes a break. When you get back to it, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to concentrate again.
Participate in any livestream classes as much as possible and stay in communication (via email) with your lecturers for any important notices or updates.
One of the best ways to keep in touch with classmates is to set up Zoom study groups or chat on social media or messaging apps, especially if you need to work on group assignments.
Don’t forget to keep in touch with your non-university friends too. Even if you’re not seeing them on a day-to-day basis you can still socialise online or check in with them regularly. FaceTime calls, online games and virtual exercise sessions are fun ways to interact.
Staying connected is a great way to reduce feelings of isolation and maintain important relationships.
Look After Your Health
Exercising, eating well and getting plenty of sleep can help you stay motivated and healthy. Activities such as yoga or meditation may also help you reduce stress and stay positive.
When you exercise your body releases chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin which help improve mood. While fitting exercise around study and correct social distancing can be challenging, simply going for a short walk outside or doing some gardening can be beneficial.
Getting enough sleep is also important as it allows the body to repair and brain to consolidate memories and process information. Poor sleep or not enough sleep is linked to issues such as anxiety and depression.
Get Help When You Need It
If you are struggling to adapt to university life or remote study and experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress or anxiety, help is available.
Psychological Health Care remains open and our psychologists are here to help. We continue to deliver services via regular sessions or via telephone and video-conferencing appointments where appropriate.