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Mental Health Resources For College Students Online
College can take a toll on your mental health. Up to 44% of college students report having symptoms of depression and anxiety. While it can be the most exciting time of your life, it can also be the most stressful and overwhelming.
Online college and remote courses are becoming more popular, which is great for people with busy schedules or for those who can’t travel across the country for school. Unfortunately, getting an online degree can cause even more damage to your mental well-being if you’re isolating yourself for hours each day.
However, with a bit of preemptive planning and prioritizing of your well-being, you can maintain your mental health as an online college student. You can complete your degree without falling victim to some of the common mental pitfalls that can often plague students.
Let’s cover some of those processes and practices you should implement. The more you plan ahead for your future now, the easier it will be to reduce your stress, stay calm, and keep yourself happy and healthy as you take courses online.
One of the biggest challenges you can face as an online college student is isolation. You might have message boards or chatrooms within your class. You might even attend your classes virtually via platforms like Zoom, allowing you to see and interact with everyone.
While technology has made it easy for people to stay connected even when they’re not in the same location, it’s not a substitute for face-to-face interaction.
Loneliness and isolation can lead to a variety of mental health issues, including:
Thankfully, you can combat those issues by making small changes that benefit your wellness greatly. Start by prioritizing social interaction. You’re not going to be taking classes all day. Maybe you’re going to college online so you have time to work a part-time job elsewhere. Use your time at work to interact with as many people as possible. During your free time, catch up with family members or friends.
Even on days when everyone is busy or unavailable, you can combat the effects of loneliness by getting out of the house and being around people. Head to your favorite coffee shop to have a warm drink and “people watch”. Or, go to a local park and enjoy the activity of the people surrounding you.
Finally, do what you can to network while attending an online college. Find others who are in your desired industry. Go to local meet-ups, attend seminars and conventions, or connect with them online. By connecting with the people who are already doing what you want to do, you can find motivation and comradery. People who have been in the industry for a while can also give you advice on how to move forward and what you should be doing to connect with even more people. Whenever you see the opportunity to talk to someone in your career field, don’t let it pass by.
Going to college in person typically means having a specific routine each day. You need to wake up by a certain time, make yourself presentable, and get to class on campus. When you’re taking courses online, that’s not really necessary.
However, failing to have some kind of routine in place can increase your stress, make it difficult to stay motivated, and can interrupt your school-life balance very quickly.
Having a daily routine is important for your physical and mental health, as well as your success in school. Try waking up at the same time each day, doing similar things each morning, and getting in the right mindset to attend class – even if it’s just virtually. Establishing a “wind down” routine every evening will make it easier to get your mind in the right state for bed, which can help you experience a night of deeper sleep.
Throughout the day, make sure to include breaks in your routine. While breaks might seem counterproductive, they’re actually quite necessary for maintaining your well-being. Get up and stretch, spend some time outside, and walk away from your desk between classes so you have a chance to clear your head.
Your routine is up to you. While you can certainly make changes to it now and then, try to stick with something similar each day once your mind and body get used to it. You can experience things like more restful sleep, more energy, and a better mood throughout the day when you know what to expect.
College can be stressful whether you’re attending classes in person or not. All college students should be prioritizing self-care and doing what they can to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Self-care looks different for everyone, but it’s about finding small ways to reduce your stress and promote wellness each day. That might include things like:
- Getting enough sleep;
- Enjoying a healthy diet;
You can even take up a new hobby if you’re looking for a way to break up your time between classes and clear your head. Certain hobbies can end up teaching you a lot and they’re great for your mental health at the same time. Gardening, for example, can reduce your stress levels and provide you with a sense of accomplishment as you see your work come to life.
Other hobbies like dancing, hiking, or taking yoga can also improve your mental and physical health. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to try different things along the way.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. By taking a little bit of time each day to prioritize yourself, you can make a big difference in how you feel and how motivated you are to be present in your online class.
There’s no denying that the remote college option is here to stay. As technology continues to advance, it will undoubtedly become even more popular. While there are many benefits to attending college online, it’s very clear that there are some potential drawbacks, too. Do what you can to avoid those problems and take care of your mental health. When you plan ahead and develop strategies for mental wellness, you will more fully enjoy your college experience.