As 2020 rolled in, no one could have predicted what the year had in store. But, unfortunately, despite the news reporting about a new highly contagious virus going around, people didn’t start taking COVID-19 seriously until it was too late to contain the spread.
Amidst the closure of academic institutions, researchers conducted surveys to gauge students’ mental health and their ability to adapt to the new normal of online classes or paper writing service. The data was extremely concerning. One such survey highlights how, out of 195 students, 138 (71%) reported increased stress levels due to the pandemic.
Why Students Are The Invisible Victims Of COVID-19?
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With schools, colleges, and universities shutting down to prevent the spread of the virus, students have had to adapt quickly to their changing environment. From physical classes to online Zoom meetings, educational institutions tried their best to ensure students don’t miss out on education or coursework help.
Unfortunately, no one bothered to ask students how they felt about the changes. They were expected to adapt and accept the changes around them like all adults. However, studies show the reality that remains hidden in plain sight.
According to data collected from a sample of 1,380 Jordanian university students, the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress in different levels was 78.7%, 67.9% and 58.7%. Home isolation is usually an unpleasant experience. The extended separation from friends, apprehension about the future, worries about education, fear for loved ones and unfamiliarity with online education has spiked stress amongst students worldwide.
The unfamiliarity with technology has burdened millions of students struggling to adapt to online education. Furthermore, news reports highlighted how almost 1.5m homes in the UK had no access to the internet, and 20% of students across the country did not have access to devices for online learning.
It’s no surprise that, with such unequal access to education, being confined in homes has been more stressful to some students than others. But there’s no reason to give up. Instead, as vaccines roll out and the promise of a return to normalcy hangs on the horizon, you can adopt a few methods to alleviate the stress and pass the time until the COVID-19 is under control.
10 Helpful Methods To Kick Stress Out In An Instant
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The lack of psychosocial support and initiatives taken by the academic institutions to address students’ mental health problems has been pretty disheartening. The usual reactions that students have experienced are:
- Constant stress
- Restlessness and agitation
- Frustration, irritability, and anger
- Sadness, hopelessness
- Apprehension about the future
- Disconnection from peers
- Struggles to relax
If you don’t find an outlet to let the stress out, you will become vulnerable to psychological distress. Keeping this in mind, let’s go over a few activities that you can do to keep yourself occupied and alleviate the stress.
1. Take care of yourself
A common symptom of stress and depression is a lack of self-care. For example, since you’re confined in your house, you might feel it unnecessary to make your bed, take a bath, or maintain basic hygiene. But unfortunately, this will become counterproductive.
Self-care is the first step that you should take to beat the blues. Eat well, keep yourself active, and avoid going to bed late. Try to stay occupied throughout the day, but don’t overwork yourself.
2. Acknowledge your feelings
Before you begin to look for ways to alleviate your stress, you need to acknowledge the negative emotions inside. Many students might think feeling stressed is a sign of weakness, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, it is normal to feel stressed and worried about an unexpected situation. So, think of ways to channel your emotions, such as writing poems, journaling, or creating art.
3. Stick to your day-to-day routine
No matter how much the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted your daily life, it would be best if you didn’t stray from your schedule. Following a proper routine positively impacts your mind and keeps the sense of normalcy floating. So even if your online class timings get pushed later, don’t sleep in or stay awake past your usual bedtime.
4. Manage your disappointment of missing out
Missing graduation, birthday, anniversaries, and proms can take a significant toll on your mental health. You’ve probably heard your parents brag about their prom dates or the once-in-a-lifetime graduation experience. But, even if you don’t experience these milestones yourself, don’t let the disappointment overwhelm you.
5. Limit your social media consumption
Social media gives a platform to every person in the world. Thus, misinformation can spread like wildfire and increase your stress levels through the roof. So, limit your media consumption and follow reliable sources for your information.
6. Don’t stress about things you can’t control
Every day the news reports of people going out without masks, not following the essential public health protocols, and the rising positive cases and hospitals flooded with patients. All of these can cause stress, but there’s nothing you can do about them. You cannot force other people to maintain protocols, neither can you prevent the spread of the virus. So instead, all you can do is follow all public safety protocols yourself, get vaccinated and spread awareness.
7. Reach out to your friends and family
You’re not the only person feeling the stress of this new, unexpected global pandemic. If you’re living away from your parents, ensure to catch up on their health and see how they’re holding up. There’s a high possibility they’re worried about you more than the pandemic. Catch up with your friends and arrange online get-togethers every weekend where you can complain about online classes. This will bring back some semblance of normalcy and keep away the pains of social isolation.
8. Seek accurate information
There is no lack of self-proclaimed experts who claim every word they speak is fact even though there is no evidence. Such inaccurate information has caused a lot of stress in students. So, whenever you want updates about the current situation, filter your sources and compare the reliable ones before believing what you read.
9. Get help from professionals
There’s no shame in requiring professional help to show you the way. When you’re bogged down by stress, it can be impossible to focus on academics. As a result, when your grades suffer, you’ll end up getting more anxious. So, if you feel that you’re unable to cope with the challenging times yourself, you can always consult professional counsellors.
10. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness has been a popular coping mechanism for those suffering from stress and anxiety. Originating in Buddhism, the methods involve deep breathing and guided meditation. When you’re stressed, your mind will try to hyper-fixate on the problem without providing any helpful ways to solve the issue. Hence, instead of ruminating on the situation, take some time out to focus and relax.
Summing it up,
As the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic, students are left to struggle with their growing stress and anxieties at home. With the shutting down of educational institutions, adjusting to the online education mode has been challenging for most, especially those who are technologically challenged and lack the resources for this new mode of learning. With the help of the tips in this blog, you can try to alleviate some of the stress. However, if you ever feel overwhelmed, it would be best to consult with a professional.