Back to school or college and feeling a little overwhelmed by physical distancing measures, strange timetabling, safety precautions in the classroom and new ways of learning?
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on how we go about our daily lives, so it’s understandable if you’re feeling anxious about how your future, and your studies, might be affected.
To help you look after yourself this academic year, we’ve created some top tips for dealing with some of the challenges you might face.
Please note, this blog has been developed by our marketing department for general information purposes only. You should always seek professional advice if you have concerns about your mental health.
Give yourself time
After months spent at home away from your friends and teachers during the national lockdown, it’s bound to feel strange being back at school or college.
Following physical distancing and enhanced safety measures in a known and familiar environment where previously you’ve always felt secure, can be unsettling.
And you might have a restricted timetable, smaller classes, or a shorter school day supplemented by online learning, making it difficult to get back into a routine.
Give yourself time to get used to any new measures and try not to get frustrated by them. They’re in place to keep you, your friends and teachers safe – and they won’t be for ever.
Be savvy about social media
It’s easy to feel swamped by all the news reports and rapidly changing information about Covid-19. In a world heavily influenced by social media, we’re more likely to get that information through our social accounts – a potentially far less reliable source than a trusted news station.
Although social media might keep us connected with our friends and loved ones during physical distancing restrictions, don’t become a slave to it. Instead:
- clean up your social media feed so you only follow positive people and trusted accounts that give authentic content
- don’t take sensational headlines as gospel; if you’re curious about a story, fact check it.
- try limiting the amount of time you spend on social media, or set specific times when you go online
- think about how you use social media and the effect it has on you – make sure it’s a positive part of your day
Focus on the positives
School isn’t just about lessons, homework and exams, it’s also about making friends and enjoying new experiences, mastering skills and exploring new subjects, belonging to a community and discovering your own potential.
Stay positive about your education by focusing on what you enjoy most about your day at school or college – whether that’s seeing your friends, playing for a sports team, or immersing yourself in a subject you love.
Packing your bag the night before, getting your uniform ready, setting your alarm – these are all tasks that help put you in the right frame of mind to learn.
At a time when your day at school or college might be shorter than normal, make sure you’re organised and have everything you need when you get there. Stay on top of your homework and any assignments so you’re prepared for your lessons and can make the most of your time in a classroom.
If you’re still accessing your learning online, being organised is key here, too. Treat an online lesson the same as you would a class-based session and log on in time, ready to work, with everything you need to hand.
There are some real benefits to studying online, not least learning valuable new digital skills – find out more in our blog.
Establish a routine
Create a structure that supports your learning at both your school or college and at home.
Draw up a timetable of lessons, lesson preparation, homework and revision periods. Add in downtime, too – this is particularly important if you’re still learning online so you have a definite break between your studies and home life.
Whether you realise it or not, taking control of your learning in this way will help prepare you for university and more independent study.
Try not to worry
It’s easier said than done, but try not to worry about the time away from your studies during the national lockdown – the government, your school or college, your teachers and your family understand how much of an impact this has had on you and your education.
And don’t be overwhelmed by how much work you think you have to catch up on. If you’re worried about your progress, talk to your teachers. Being pro-active and discussing your concerns will help keep your anxiety under control.
Take steps to stay stress-free
If you’re feeling stressed and anxious about your studies or being back at school or college, here’s a few stress-busting tips:
- put a time limit on how long you worry about something. Go through every possible scenario, come up with a game plan for dealing with the issue – and then stop thinking about it. If the worst happens, you’re now better prepared to cope with the situation
- set positive goals, being realistic about what you want to achieve and how, and then work towards those goals
- take time out – whether that’s relaxing in front of the TV after a day hitting the books, taking a walk to clear your head, or just snatching a few moments to breathe deeply to calm and relax your mind and body.
Look after your health
If you’re fit and healthy, you’ll not only feel good, you’ll also study more effectively. Look after your health, follow a sensible, balanced diet and get enough sleep.
Get active with a new sport, or keep playing your favourite sport. Sport and exercise are great for your physical health as well as your mental wellbeing, triggering the production of endorphins in your body which act as natural mood lifters.
Ask for help
We all need someone to talk to when we’re worried, so find someone you trust and tell them what’s on your mind. Whether it’s a parent, friend or a teacher, talking to them about your anxieties can help keep things in perspective.
Get the facts
We hope you’ve found this blog post useful – do keep checking back with us for more helpful study advice and revision tips as you start preparing for university. If you need some support with your university application, why not download our guide to writing a personal statement below? This year, we've included added guidance on how to project the transferable skills you've gained during the COVID-19 pandemic.