Is Distance Learning Closing in on You? Try These Mood-Boosting Tips
With several weeks of distance learning under our belts, most college students have a handle on their routines, study schedules and have settled into the social distancing groove in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By now, students have established what it takes to keep their grades up. But good grades can only go so far. What about emotional and mental well-being?
To start, you can check with your college to find out what engaging virtual activities are being offered to students during this time. Vaughn is hosting virtual exercise classes, yoga, scavenger hunts and jeopardy games to help with mental and physical health – these are posted on Facebook and Instagram weekly, as well as on the events page.
In addition to these activities, we would also like to suggest some fun and functional ways to boost your mood and ease the stress and isolation that might result from distance learning. Whether you try one of these methods or all of them, keeping a positive mind-body balance is the best way to maintain good emotional and mental health.
Maintaining social connections
Social distancing may be keeping us from physically seeing our friends and families, but thanks to technology, there are other fun ways to maintain social connections. Did you know social connections are a powerful force in boosting your mood and overall health? Here are some fun ways to keep your lifelines open with family and friends:
- Use Zoom, FaceTime and social media platforms to stay connected 24-hours a day.
- Schedule a game night/day to play group games—social distancing does not apply.
- Schedule venting sessions. Getting your thoughts or frustrations off your chest is a healthy way to clear your mind.
Exercise your body and your mind
These days, it is all too easy to get stuck in a rut. If you are becoming one with your couch, now is the time to get up, get moving and release those mood-boosting endorphins. Here are some ways to keep your body active while staying at home. Just be sure to follow proper Centers of Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines.
- Go for a walk
- Take a bike ride
- Do yoga
- Dance to your favorite songs
- Jump rope
- Play tag with your siblings
We already know exercise does a body good. But what about giving your brain a boost, too? Before you say your brain is on overload from studying, consider this: Did you know playing brain-boosting games can relax your mind and help you shift gears into a more relaxed mental state? Between online learning sessions try playing one or more of these for a fun brain boost:
- Crossword puzzles
- Words with friends
- Word search
Mindfulness exercises, such as meditation can be the ultimate exercise for your brain. Here are some of the benefits meditation can bring to your mental health:
- Instills internal calming and peace
- Clears your mind
- Rejuvenates your mind and energy level
- Provides a peaceful escape from your surroundings
It is not uncommon for college students to become anxious or distressed during today’s uncertain times. The experts at Psychology Today recommend for students to ease their worries with the SHHH tips: Structure, Health, Happiness and Hope. If you are already practicing some of these, try incorporating the others for a total wellness check to help ease your worries away.
- Structure—Maintain a schedule and stick with it. Try going to bed the same time every night and remain diligent with your school schedule. The good news is once your work has been completed, you can make time for that Zoom call or FaceTime chat!
- Health—It is easy to indulge in a snack marathon while social distancing, but maintaining a healthy diet now is more important than ever. Good nutrition can boost your immune system. Also, it is important to get enough sleep and work in some exercise, as we discussed above.
- Happiness—This might be a tough one since many of the things that brought us happiness are off the list—for now. The good news? There are other activities that can bring you joy that you may not have discovered or have forgotten about. Some suggestions to consider: Trying out a new recipe. Or, play an instrument you haven’t played in a while. Start up an old hobby you used to enjoy, such as crafting, sewing, knitting or journaling. Finally, how about binge-watching a cool series on Netflix?
- Hope—This may be the most important one of all. If history has taught us anything, it is that we are a country of resilience. As a nation, we have recovered from wars, pandemics and recessions. Looking to the future with hope and promise of better days to follow is one of the best ways to keep mentally fit.
Looking for more helpful information on distance learning? Check out our blog: Six Tips for New Distance Learners. So keep your head up, stay mentally and physically fit and prepare yourself for a bright future.