How to manage your online learning
Focus! Concentrate! Stick to the plan! These are the exam preparation commands. You might have heard them from a parent, a teacher or even from your own soul.
Hard work, discipline, and self-control are all qualities we should seek to cultivate in ourselves, but when is enough, really enough? Almost a year into the pandemic, you might find your energy failing, and – to be truthful – you might feel a bit depressed.
When it comes to studying at a time like this, the last thing you need is negative self-talk. The reason? When we are tired or depressed, our executive functions start to decline. These executive functions are mental abilities. They include characteristics like the ability to think flexibly and apply different possible solutions to problems. Another executive function is your ability to integrate what you have just read or heard what you already know as working memory. We train our executive functions by working with them and challenging them.
The more stress you are under, the more difficult it is to access your optimum executive function. Individual stress, combined with global stress, are a bad combination.
What can you do about it?
If you are a student, or if you care for one, go easier on yourself or easier on them. This is not the time to demand “Focus!” “Concentrate!” or “Stick to the plan!”
When experts remind you to “practice self-care,” it doesn’t mean to take a trip to the spa or a vacation. It means making sure that your needs are meant. Healthy food, proper sleep and relaxation are all on the self-care list.
Next, acknowledge that you are working hard in difficult circumstances. Taking time to let yourself be distracted and use your imagination rather than just your intellect can give you exactly the inspiration you need to go on. In hard times, all of us need compassion. Be compassionate with yourself.
Enjoy what you learn, don’t endure it.
Quadratic equations are as beautiful as poetry. Learning to plant a garden is just as valuable as learning a new programming language. If your mind leads you to a topic, explore it.
You might have to get back to the provincial curriculum or the national test, but spending an hour away from it can refresh your brain and your mood. And, with that refresh, comes the restoration of your executive functions. You’ll be able to access your working memory, think more flexibly and manage your online learning better as a result.