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The modern-day students are well acquainted with the term ‘stress’, particularly in the form of examinations, assignments, grades, and finally, expectations. However, the unprecedented Coronavirus Pandemic that we have been dealing with since February this year, has given the word ‘stress’ a new meaning. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently made an alarming claim of a potential mental health crisis as a result of the psychological impact of the pandemic. The primary reason being that the last major pandemic of this scale which the world dealt with was the 1918 Influenza or Spanish Flu and so, technically nobody has first-hand experience of dealing with this major of a crisis.
One of the distinguishing factors of this global pandemic is that it has affected society as a whole, with students making up a large part of it. As a result, they have had to deal with the unforeseen closure of educational institutions, followed by the change in approach in order to adjust to the scenario, namely through online classes and the use of different software to replace the physical classes and interactions between students and faculty. As revolutionary as it sounds, online education can be stressful, from technical difficulties to the struggle of implementing a productive routine at home, students have had to overcome multiple obstacles, which brings me to my first stress prevention method related to organization and focus. Being a student myself, I understand the importance of having a proper study environment, and you can replicate one at home by assigning yourself a fixed area to study in and having predetermined timings for your regular study sessions. Additionally, ensure that all forms of distraction, including unnecessary technological devices and communication, are deliberately kept away while studying to maintain focus.
Coming back to the last major global pandemic, it is important to remember that it was dealt with very differently, particularly without television or radio and with significantly slow and inefficient communication, which is in extreme contrast to the technology and rapid exchange of information that is currently at our disposal in regards to COVID-19, especially keeping in mind students’ frequent use of social media and other information platforms online. Due to this very reason, it is important that we are able to differentiate between being aware, and being engulfed by an overload of information, and an effective way to do so is by making a conscious effort to filter out the information that is being circulated and received from innumerable sources pertaining to the Coronavirus pandemic being a global crisis, and being mindful of the content that we consume in order to ensure that we remain focused on that which concerns us, so as to avoid unnecessary stress and instead divert our energy towards our academics.
The fast-paced world that we live in today makes it exceptionally convenient for students to get caught up in the hustle-bustle of life, a part of which are studies and social obligations, and overlook or ignore the simplest of things, including our health, both mental and physical. Therefore, it is important to practice self-care by making slight changes to our lifestyle, such as consuming a well-balanced and healthy diet, engaging in physical activity on a regular basis, and surrounding yourself with individuals who are able to contribute to your life and growth positively. If your overall health and well being are in good shape, it can help you deal with, or perhaps even avoid a lot of the stress that comes your way, be it due to studies or any other reason.
Stress is a form of mental exertion that occurs when we are unable to cope with our circumstances, either due to our lack of skill and understanding of external constraints, and while it can be managed on most occasions, the situation is sometimes out of our control. This means that as a human, you are experiencing the natural tendency of worrying or over-analyzing something that as much as you want to, you have no power over. A plausible solution in such a situation would be to instead focus your energy on things that are within your control. In this case for instance, if you prefer physical classes and the commotion of online classes is inhibiting your ability to focus properly, you can perhaps invest extra hours in self-studying from varying resources, or privately contact your lecturers for extra support and clarification when necessary.
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