For many of us students already struggling with school, COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on our education. Starting in April 2020, most schools shifted to online learning to reduce the spread of the virus in schools. After the circuit breaker ended in June 2020, schools adopted a blended learning approach — alternating between online and in-person classes.
This is our new normal. However, many of us are still taking time to get used to it. Perhaps we struggle to focus during class due to the ever-confusing mix of online and in-person lessons. Our grades may have dipped, resulting in inevitable mental stress and worry over the future of our education.
However, fret not. Plenty of other students are going through the same thing. Here are just a few ways to deal with the stress of studying during the pandemic.
Identify your source of stress
In order to combat your concerns, you first have to narrow them down. What exactly are you stressed about? The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) conducted a survey of 3,500 university students in the United States. They found that students’ anxiety originated mostly from a struggle to stay engaged in class, especially with the blended learning method. In Singapore, more surveys found that pre-teens were more worried about examination results than the virus itself.
Of course, this may differ for each individual. Regardless of what it is, narrow down your biggest source of stress and focus only on what you can control lest you become overwhelmed.
Have a support system
Perhaps the most clichéd truth is that you are never alone in your struggles. There are many other people you can reach out to for support — family, friends, or even teachers or professors.
Having a support group not only helps to keep you accountable and motivated to finish your school-related tasks, but they can also provide invaluable mental and emotional support during your low points. Elizabeth Derickson, a therapist with online therapy service Talkspace, said in an interview with Real Simple Magazine: “Don’t be afraid to reach out (to others) to help not only yourself but your friends and your school community as well.”
A good support group can help you to de-stress and manage your stress much better. Group study sessions, sharing revision notes or even creating question banks are great ways to make studying more enjoyable and reduce your school-related anxiety.
Set aside time for self-care
In the midst of everything, it could be easy to burn out if you do not set aside some time for yourself. Everyone has different means of caring for their mental well-being — you could take a break to watch some videos, fix a snack, or go for a walk.
In some cases, self care might even mean doing some tasks that you have been putting off. The sense of satisfaction you feel after finishing an assignment or watching an online lecture could be just as sweet as other ‘conventional’ forms of self care.
Regardless of how you practice self care, it can do wonders for your mental and physical state. It can make you more focused and motivated whenever you get back to work next, and protect your immune system so that you do not fall ill from exhaustion.
Remember that you are not alone!
Again, always be aware that plenty of students are going through similar struggles given this new normal. There will always be someone you can talk to for support if you need any. If all goes well, we can all only hope that things will return to the “true normal” soon.
If you need to speak to someone about your mental health, you can use the following list of resources:
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) (24 hours)
Phone: 1800 221 4444
Institute of Mental Health (IMH) (24 hours)
Phone: 6389 2222
TOUCHline (Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Phone: 1800 377 2252
Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre (EMCC) (24 hours
Phone: 6788 8220
Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) (24 hours)
Phone: 1800 283 7019
eC2 (Mondays to Fridays, 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)