A lot of us thought that ‘no school’ and ‘studying from home’ would be the best thing that’s happened to us in all our years of school. The truth is though, we’re seeing more and more students struggling to stay motivated and happy, and the stress and anxiety of not knowing when they’ll see their friends, they’ll be back in school, or the world will be back to normal again. If you are feeling some of these thoughts, you are not alone. Although the best way to deal with coronavirus-induced anxiety will be different for everyone, here are a few tips that we can give you that have worked for us, and might just set you reduce stress!
1. Don’t self-isolate yourself just because you’re self-quarantining
Although self-quarantining implies that you shouldn’t see anyone face-to-face, this doesn’t mean that you have to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. We hear from many students that you end up seeing your friends less and don’t get to have the same relaxing late-night hangouts that you used to. This doesn’t have to be the case!
Set up Zoom or Houseparty calls with your friends a few times a week! You can chat about life, play online games (like Jackbox or Cards Against Humanity), and fight your way through this strange time together!
2. Find ways to make sure you stay away from the news
We’re not saying that you should never read the news. In fact, it’s great to stay informed on what’s happening so you can alert family or friends if they’re doing things that seem unwise during this time. However, if you’re anything like us, you might be constantly refreshing news sites to see the latest updates, or latest numbers of infected/deaths. All this will do is fuel anxiety and nervosity.
Instead, choose to only check the news when you wake up and just before you go to bed! If you need to, download an app like Self Control that will allow you to block news websites between certain hours ensuring that you can resist the urge of hearing the latest!
3. Engage in activities that aren’t on your device
Typically we’re in school for 8 hours a day, we have another 2-3 hours of extracurricular activities, and another hour or so of travelling/dead time. That’s a whole lot of hours that we’re using our computers and phones very little (if at all). Suddenly, by needing to study from home, we’re on our computers for all 8 hours of school, all our extracurriculars are gone, and there’s no travel time during which to relax and reduce stress. The big problem is that we’re all seeing our screen time go up massively, and if there’s one thing that fuels anxiety and stress it’s excessive social media use.
How do we recommend dealing with this? Start an activity that’ll force you to put your device down. Start a jigsaw puzzle, play board games or cards with your family, start cooking more, bake, play a musical instrument, or anything else you can think of! Give your mind a chance to breathe after staring at a screen all day — you might need it more than you know.
Still need to keep up with school work? Click here to access our new guide on the best resources for studying from home!
4. Make a timetable and stick to it
One positive thing that school does teach us is routine. Suddenly this routine is stripped away as (unless you have Google Hangouts/Zooms during your classes) you don’t have a specific schedule you need to stick to! You might end up waking up at noon, starting school work at 2pm, and not going to bed til 4am. This daily routine is not one that will foster productivity, efficiency, or long-run sustainability.
Treat every day as if you do have a strict schedule by creating a timetable for yourself. Use a tool like Get Revising to make a schedule in minutes. Get a member of your family, a friend, or even a teacher to hold you accountable to make sure that you really are waking up, working, and taking breaks when you told yourself to.
5. Get an energy boost from some video workouts
It’s in times like this that we realise just the impact that physical activity and sports has on our wellbeing. Those of you that are typically on sports teams or engage in some sort of physical activity will undoubtedly be finding it hard to stay concentrated. Why is this? Getting blood flow to the brain through exercise actually greatly enhances your ability to focus and stay on task as well as to reduce stress!
So, it sounds like a good idea to make sure we’re staying active despite being locked in your house. In most places around the world you’re still allowed to go outside for a run or brisk walk, so make this part of your daily routine! If you’re a bit nervous to go outside, there’s tons of great tools to have fantastic home workouts. Check out Youtube for some great free workout videos — anything from Yoga and Pilates to Body Pump and Cardio activities. If you have a few dollars to spend, companies like Peloton are great to subscribe to for unlimited on-demand and live workouts. Make sure to stay active!
But these are just 5 short tips to reduce stress as an IB student in 2020. We’ve got a whole host of other blog posts on how to stay happy and healthy whilst studying from home. Click below to see another in our IB Coronavirus Advice series!