Preparing (Mentally & Phyiscally) for a Year of Online Learning

After an unexpected and stressful summer, we are now counting down the days until we are back in class. Whether you’re a returning student or a new student (congrats!), we are all embarking on a journey together.

You’re probably tired of hearing how we have to “take care of ourselves” and that these are “unprecedented” times, but we do need some strategies going into the new online school year. Here are my top tips for taking care of your physical and mental health during the new academic year.

Find Quiet Time
Studying from home might pose a challenge to some more than others. There’s going to be so much information stuffed into your brain alongside lectures, readings, videos, zoom calls and more! So, it’s important to allow yourself some quiet time to rejuvenate. This might mean meditating or taking a nap (seems counterproductive, right?). It can mean reading your favourite book or going to a park or quiet space where you can just exist.

Move Your Body!
I’m sure a lot of us are experts at sitting on the couch binging Netflix but there’s nothing like moving the body, through light stretching or full on high intensity workouts, to keep you in good shape and spirits! I highly recommend finding exercise videos on YouTube. They have everything from beginner to expert levels and from ten minutes to an hour or longer. You’ll be surprised how much ten minutes of any type of movement can help.

Rest Your Eyes
We spend SO much time looking at screens, so it’s important to give our eyes rest. And, you can even stretch your eyes! Check this link to learn more.

Set Yourself a Routine
We hear this all the time, and getting into one can be easier said than done, but it’s immensely beneficial. This will allow you to manage your time better. For the new schoolyear I recommend having set hours a day for your readings, for moving your body, social time, and quiet time. Fit this into your schedule as required. For more on setting routines check out this article.

Use Your Resources
Thank goodness we live in the information age! Imagine self-isolating without the internet…Not pretty, right? Well, use the internet to find what works for you. The app store has plenty of great meditation apps, York’s resources has great documents for time management and more, and of course Google is your friend.

Ask for Help!
Speaking of friends, make sure you have time to connect on or off screen. This year is going to be very different without in-person classes, so filling up your social meter is important. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask your friends, your family, your profs or your TAs. Everyone needs help sometimes, and if you feel like you’re struggling, you don’t have to go through it alone.