By Olivia Holmes
Has Virtual Learning Life got you down? Has the fact that you haven’t seen any humans besides maybe your family driven you insane? Has the fact that you haven’t stopped working since 8am starting to drive you mad?
Don’t worry I’ve got you covered! Now, here are some tips to make sure YOU don’t go insane during Virtual Learning!
STEP 1: Take Breaks
This may not apply as much to the younger years, but for someone in year 11, I can’t tell you how draining it is being at a computer for hours on end! At least with going to school, you have some time between classes, some classes that don’t require laptops, etc., but that isn’t the case with Virtual Learning! It’s always on a computer. Not only does that drain your laptop battery, but it can also drain you! This is because, according to experts, staring at screens “can strain or make the symptoms of existing eye conditions worse.” Looking at screens for too long without taking breaks can also lead to difficulty focusing, headaches, eye discomfort, blurred vision, dry eyes, and itchy eyes. This happens because looking at a screen for an extended period of time causes you to blink less, which deprives your eyes of moisture.”
So, what do you do now? TAKE BREAKS!!! They’re super important. Once you’ve finished your work, have to go to the bathroom, read a book, have a nap during lunchtime, study periods even in class— I’m kidding, but seriously, once you’ve gotten work done, take a break. It refreshes your brain for the next period and is a little less screen time because we know it’s terrible for us.
STEP 2: Stay Hydrated
While you should be doing this regardless, keeping up your hydration is incredibly important. Now, I’m not going to spew out somethings like “drink eight glasses of water a day!” because that doesn’t work (watch Adam Ruins Everything’s video on it if you don’t believe me). Just drink whenever your thirsty, and maybe instead of that fifth cup of coffee, have some water! It’ll do you better in the end.
Even just having a bottle of water next to you means you don’t have to keep going back and forth from the nearest tap. Staying hydrated also reduces the chance that you’ll get a headache from staring at your screens for too long!
STEP 3: Socialise
Now, this a little more challenging with social distancing and “no gatherings of more than 2, but there are alternatives! For example, download Discord, Skype, Google Hangouts, even Zoom! These sites allow video chat so you can see people’s faces again! I know that I’d probably go super insane if I didn’t have the option to see my friends!
And If you really need to see people, just go over to someone’s house on the weekends. Make sure you’re practicing social distancing and make sure the crowds aren’t too big! This is a severe issue, so please refrain from going to the nearest Shopping Centre or beach because you may not be at a fatal risk, but there are a lot of people who are! So have a games night, a movie night or even just a nice dinner at home! A little social interaction can go a long way towards improving your mood and mental health!
STEP 4: Eat Healthily!
This one’s a no-brainer, but even though you have access to your entire fridge and pantry, it doesn’t mean you go straight to the Doritos or the chocolate bar! Making sure you’re eating better, especially if you aren’t moving much, is essential!
Maybe start making your own lunch! Or just adding a few more vegetables and fruits to your diet, get some calcium and some good fats such as almonds, it’s going to make a world of difference! Not only does it mean you are getting the nutrients and proteins to function correctly, but you feel better overall because you’re eating better! Now, this doesn’t mean you are never eating any junk food ever again; have some dessert after dinner or a sweet as a reward for getting that assignment submitted. Take it in small doses or reach for the sugar-free options!
STEP 5: Sleep!
This is super important. Since you’ll be working a lot more in front of screens and using more of your mental energy, sleep is super important not only for your energy but for your mental and physical health too! Did you know lack of sleep prevents your body from strengthening your immune system, it can increase your risk of getting respiratory illnesses, and can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes? It’s crazy right? So, you should be getting at least 71/2 to 91/2 hours of sleep per night! Take advantage that you can get out of bed and be fine for school! Sleep is so much more important than most people realise, and since we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, might as well do it well!
If you’re having trouble sleeping due to stress or any other reason here’s a bunch of tips to get to sleep faster!
- The 4,7,8 method – breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8, This is one of the best methods I’ve used and even better; It works
- I could say “avoid technology for one hour before bed” but realistically no-one (even myself) can do that so avoid caffeine or anything containing high amounts of sugar at least a few hours before going to bed. I have a rule for myself that is no coffee after 5pm so I can sleep better!
- Calculate your sleep cycles! There’s a really good website called sleepyti.me calculator to calculate what time you should go to bed for a refreshing sleep! Here’s the website; https://sleepyti.me/
Overall, the way to maintain good wellbeing during Virtual Learning or Isolation during this interesting period is taking care of yourself. You can’t just stop school from happening, so taking measures to improve staying at home is going to make the period a lot better, because we may be doing this for a bit. For now, take care of yourselves and make sure to chill out a lot during our holidays after all this!