Juggling Remote Learning and Your Mental Health

Remote learning is hard. And I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. To be honest with you, I’ve spent the last six months not doing much. It has been a constant cycle of Netflix binges and baking fests with an occasional walk and burst of productivity in between. Not quite the productive summer after my freshman year that I was hoping for. After these six months of sheer unproductiveness and spending far too much time on Tik Tok, transitioning back into school mode is taking me longer than I’d like to admit and it is taking a toll on my mental health. Here are some things I am doing to improve my mental health:

Take a Break

I would say that the most straining part of remote learning is that everything is online. Everything from our lectures, to homework, to extracurriculars, to talking to our friends, and to downtime is online or on a screen. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that you need to take a break! I often get so wrapped up in doing schoolwork - or rather procrastinating it by staring at the screen some more - that I forget to get up and move around. So what can you do? For me, since I moved down to Cape Cod for the semester, it's been taking walks and sitting on the beach every day at 4 p.m. for an hour. I force myself to put my phone away and just listen to the ocean, people watch, and relax. It’s my “me” time and is something that I look forward to every day. You could carve time out of your day to go on a long walk, a bike ride, run, or paint. Anything that brings you joy off of technology. 

Aaron Burden Aaron Burden / Unsplash Turn off Social Media

Another key to better balance your mental health and remote learning is to turn off social media. It sounds tough but social media can take an extreme toll on your mental health. Many of us started using social media when we were in middle school. Our entire lives are on social media, and with this inevitably comes a range of emotions like FOMO or insecurities when we see photoshopped pictures of unrealistic bodies. These emotions and content you may see on your feeds can be distracting and a major drain on your mental health. Add the pandemic and remote learning to this mix and it can be a recipe for disaster. If you notice that you’re struggling, evaluate how you feel after being on a social media app. Does scrolling through Instagram make you feel down? Does swiping through your Tik Tok “For You” page give you a headache? Does keeping up with your daily Snapchat “streaks” fill you with a sense of dread? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then try deleting the app for a few days. See if it makes you feel a little better. For me, deleting Tik Tok during times of high stress is extremely helpful. I often find myself getting headaches from scrolling through Tik Tok. Deleting it does wonders for my mental health and allows me to focus more school, rather than getting overwhelmed by both. 

Set Goals

One of the best ways that I have found to organize myself and not get overwhelmed with the remote learning workload is to break up my day by setting little goals. These goals can be anything from simply making your bed, to going for a bike ride, to an assignment you need to get done for the day. By setting goals and handwriting them in a visible place, I feel that I am able to more effectively manage my time and my mental health. I feel accomplished when I cross a goal off the list, even if it is as small as making the bed or cleaning your workspace. 

Person writing on a book Cathryn Lavery

With remote learning, it can be hard to manage and prioritize your mental health. However, by making a few small changes in your daily behavior, you may be able to better balance your workload and your health.