Three years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we are still dealing with it and the effects it has had on all of us. It’s often uncomfortable to talk about the mental health aspect of the pandemic’s impacts. People are still trying to figure out what to do to overcome the struggles that the pandemic has brought. When it first started, I wasn’t seriously affected by it and I just went on with having to do school online. Although, it did start to get tough because everything was online and using certain resources, such as a tutor or going to one of the writing labs, weren’t as easy when COVID-19 started. I was not available.
I feel like one downfall I have experienced since COVID-19 started is being unable to focus. Since my whole first semester of college was completely online, I have had to constantly stare at screens. I found myself having to take brain breaks to be able to focus. According to Edutopia, taking 10 to 15 minute brain breaks can help you reset, allowing you to focus even more. Those breaks are important because it can help you prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed with the work you are doing.
With the lowering of restrictions regarding the virus this semester, it has allowed me to get back on track to where I would like to be with my grades. Not only do I use brain breaks as a part of my routine, but I also make set times where I work on something so I make sure it gets finished. I am able to sit myself down and give myself an hour or two to finish a couple of assignments that are important. This helps me prioritize the things I absolutely need to get done.
Being surrounded by people who have fun is also a thing I have been able to do to reduce my stress. I plan a fun weekend and have something to look forward to after being stressed about the pandemic in general. Whether it is planning to go somewhere that isn’t heavily populated or simply having a game night and watching a movie, being able to enjoy the weekend with people who are fun helps me become less stressed about everything crazy going on in the world.
Another thing that makes it easier to focus and be less stressed is to be active. I run everyday and it helps with my concentration because that’s where I get all of my energy out. After I do the physical activity, I am able to be calm and work on my homework. According to HelpGuide, exercising releases endorphins in the brain, and physical activity helps to relax the muscles, as well as relieve tension in the body. Being active in any way can help reduce stress from school and how school has changed due to the virus.
The advice I would give to people that are struggling in school because of the pandemic is that it will all get better. I wish someone would have told me that a year ago when I was struggling in school and with my grades. I felt like no one thought it was going to get better, and that’s why that is the advice I want to give. Another piece is that you shouldn’t be scared to ask for help, whether that is with school or with your mental health. There are going to be plenty of other people who are struggling with the same things you are. There are always resources out there that can help you. The University of Indianapolis offers counseling and other mental health resources that you can find on their website. No matter how long the pandemic goes on for, there will always be resources that you can use to cope with the stress.