The Iglu Guide | Blog

5 things to remember while you’re studying online

As the lockdowns continue, online learning has become the norm for most students. This once unchartered territory has proven that successful academic outcomes can still be achieved when face to face study is not possible.

For those organised students who thrive on self-directed learning, it’s a dream come true. For others, the prospect of sitting alone with a screen for company can send shivers. If you want to maximise the opportunity without burning yourself out, here’s how to find that perfect balance.

1. Take regular breaks

We all know the importance of using blocks of time to study. Regular breaks help to refresh your brain and you benefit from new bursts of creative thought. When you’re learning online, it’s even more important to schedule these in, as long stretches of unbroken screen time can lead to reduced productivity, tiredness and eyestrain. Set yourself out some ground rules and stick to them from the start.

  • Put together a schedule and hold yourself accountable. Use a timer to you know when it’s time to step away from your desk – but don’t break for longer than 20 minutes.
  • Avoid aimlessly browsing through social media in your breaks, make those online moments really count when they happen.
  • Move around in your downtime – even if it’s only for short periods. Put some washing on, do the dishes, prepare some food.
  • Try out some new activities that you can dip in and out of such as puzzles, knitting or sudoku. Try writing a journal or learn how to draw – the options are endless.

2. Connect with others

Online meet ups will never fully replace the live interaction we all crave as social creatures. It’s harder to read the body language, and after a day of online study it’s not ideal. But in a world where that is the only interaction available, we’ll take it every time.

  • Put regular time aside to reconnect with friends and family. Even a simple phone call is a great way to tap into your support network.
  • Connecting with others is a great way to realise that everyone is going through the same stresses and strains.
  • Sharing vulnerabilities, concerns and experiences can really lift your spirits.
  • Reach out to your uni peers and make connections. This is a great resource to call on if you ever need help with your work.

3. Look after your body and mind

Taking time to exercise and keep a healthy lifestyle is always important when studying. It helps maintain your cognitive performance and decreases stress levels. This is even more important when studying alone and online.

  • If you are feeling a bit low, any kind of exercise releases endorphins that trigger a rush of feel-good factors that will pick you right back up again.
  • Look after your body by eating a healthy diet – and save the sugary snacks for weekend treats.
  • Try out the latest meditation and wellbeing apps – but stay offline as much as possible when not studying.
  • Get plenty of sleep – between 7-9 hours per night is the recommended amount.

4. Take care of yourself

Tune in to how you are feeling, both physically and mentally. Experiencing a level of anxiety is normal, and sometimes can even be helpful. In the current scenario, it prompts us to wash our hands more regularly and wear our face masks. But it can also make us feel completely overwhelmed. Recognise the signs and channel it into a soothing activity such as listening to music, taking a walk in the fresh air or connecting with a friend.

Top Tip: Limit your social media scrolling as this can fuel anxiety. Social posts are heavily curated and never really paint a true picture. If you’re feeling a bit low, connect directly with friends that can give you the support you need.

5. Stay motivated and plan for the future

Even though it may sometimes be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, try to stay motivated. Focus on everything you are achieving right now – and how it will help you achieve your future goals. For students that thrive on independent learning, this will strengthen your skills. For those who have previously struggled to stick to a schedule, this period of time could change everything.

  • Plan out a detailed study schedule and include any upcoming assessment tasks.
  • Use spare pockets of time to update your resumé.
  • List out your life goals, and what you need to do to achieve them. Include travel destinations and fun experiences with friends and family.
  • Use this time to think clearly about how you want your future to play out – and how you can set yourself up to make it happen.

Photo by Windows on Unsplash

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