The previous year has been extremely difficult, and according to CDC data from January 2021, 39% of American adults are experiencing anxiety or depression symptoms. Here are the Top 4 Stress Management Strategies for Online Students.
Students have had to strike a balance between the stresses of school and the rising responsibilities of everyday life. In times like these, we all need to know how to manage stress and maintain our mental health.
That’s why we went out to Dr. Laurie Santos, a Yale University cognitive scientist and professor of psychology who teaches Coursera’s The Science of Well-Being online course.
We recently corresponded with Dr. Santos via email to learn about her tips for online students who want to avoid burnout while achieving academic success.
Strategy 1: Self-Compassion
Q: Do you have any suggestions for students who are under a lot of stress?
A: Allow yourself some self-compassion,” says the first piece of advice. Begin by acknowledging that you are living in a difficult, unprecedented period that affects you in practically every part of your life, including learning and productivity.
Some of my own graduate and doctoral students believe they should be just as prolific as they were before, but this is unrealistic.
We are in the midst of a pandemic, and even if we are motivated one day, we may be severely impacted the next day, rendering us unable to work.
We’re all a little less productive than usual, so treat yourself with the same care you’d show a buddy going through a similar situation.
Many individuals are worried and having difficulty managing it, so you are not alone. Reduce the stress you’re placing on yourself by treating yourself with compassion and lowering your expectations.
Strategy 2: Breathing Exercises
Q: Do you have any stress management practices for pupils who are overwhelmed?
A: Refocus yourself on what you need to do to preserve your own mental health requirements if you’re worried. A large part of this is consciously paying attention to your anxiety levels and figuring out how to deal with them.
When I’m feeling pressured, one of my favorite exercises is to take three conscious breaths. These are three calm breaths in which you concentrate on breathing into your belly button and remaining present.
This helps to calm your sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows you to relax. The more brief breaks you can take to concentrate, the more effective it will be.
Strategy 3: Meditation
Q: We’ve heard meditation is beneficial. Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out?
A: “Meditation can improve your overall health and well-being.” Metta meditation, which is a type of meditation that focuses on loving-kindness, is one of my favorites.
Using the slogan, ‘May you be happy, may you be healthy,’ you might think about different people in your life and wish them well.
According to research, simply giving love and kindness through meditation can help you feel compassion.
It’s beneficial to practice one of these meditations, even if it’s only for five minutes in the morning because it can help you build resilience and prevent burnout later.”
Strategy 4: Sticking to a Routine
Q: The pandemic has caused a great deal of anxiety in our lives. What can students do to lessen the effects?
A: “As humans, we are creatures of habit,” says A. That is, when we have a set plan and routine, we work better and feel less nervous.
As many of us adjusted to working and learning from home as a result of the epidemic, it had a significant impact on our daily routines.
Commutes and leaving school, which used to indicate the end of the day, have been abolished, blurring the barriers between work and our personal life.
To combat this, I advocate setting up and sticking to a regular plan, such as having breakfast and beginning schoolwork at the same time every day.
I also recommend that you develop a personal pattern that signifies the end of your work or school day. This might be as simple as taking a short stroll or relocating your laptop once you’ve finished for the day.
It doesn’t matter what this action or task is as long as you create and stick to a consistent timetable and habit for yourself.”
We are living in trying times, but Dr. Santos’ advice can help you handle your stress in a healthy way.
Check out her free online course, The Science of Well-Being, on Coursera to learn more about science-backed ways for increasing happiness and developing more productive behaviors.