Overcoming feelings of stress when learning online

Online learning has many proven advantages. These include being able to work to your own schedule, having access to resources and lectures wherever you are, and being able to easily go back over points you didn’t quite get the first time around. The pandemic, however, thrust many teachers and students into online environments before they were quite ready, and for some, the transition was difficult to handle. As a result, some people have actually found online learning more stressful than attending classes in person.

Fear of computers

Some people just don’t get on with computers. Although these devices are now ubiquitous in most of our homes and workplaces, older people especially sometimes feel intimidated by modern technology and immediately get stressed by having to use it. Today’s digital natives can forget how challenging the demands of video conferencing, working on the cloud and using apps can be if you’re not used to it.

If this is you, it might be a good idea to take a basic computer skills course before beginning an online learning program. Practice and become comfortable with your laptop or desktop. There’s no substitute for doing it yourself until it becomes intuitive.

A heavy workload

Remote learning lets you manage your own time and workload, but because you’re not doing a set amount of classes every week, the amount of assignments can seem more daunting, even if, in fact, you’ve only got the same quantity to do. If you’re trying to fit in a degree around a full-time job, or running a home, this can be all the more difficult to handle.

One advantage of online courses is that they can be tailored to your individual needs, meaning that you can skip over work that’s repeating aspects you’ve already covered. Wilkes University nursing faculty has an accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing for students who already have a bachelor’s in another subject, meaning that they can ‘fast track’ the course in just one year.

Screen fatigue

One of the biggest complaints about online learning, even from those who are computer-savvy, is the amount of time spent in front of a screen. Take regular breaks, at least once an hour, to get up, stretch and walk around. Try to get outside for some fresh air and natural light, even if only for five minutes at a time.

If you take a longer break, snooze your computer and do something else to relax. Don’t be tempted to spend your break time scrolling social media, watching videos or checking your emails. Rest your eyes and do something organic and creative for a while, such as drawing, knitting or playing an instrument.

Stay connected

One of the things that some people miss about online learning compared to regular college is the social life. Make sure that you keep up meaningful real-life connections with friends and family. While it’s good to be able to work free of distractions, isolation can lead to mental health problems, so be sure to get out and enjoy yourself when you can.

Online learning is a great opportunity to get an education at your own pace, but it requires a different kind of self-care to attending a physical university. Once you start looking after yourself and managing your own time, you’ll find that it gives back just as much as you put in.

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