The transition to Online classes amidst this global pandemic brings many worries and concerns on how these sudden changes will impact student – particularly for students with limited access to resources for online learning at home or students struggling with mental health. Therefore, it is critical, for both students and institutions, to find ways for students- to adapt and make the most out of this situation by encouraging resilience and promoting mental wellness.
In this digital age, social media brings many positives, such as connecting people all over the world to all sorts of information right at one’s fingertip that is important for being aware of significant events. Yet at the same time, news that often includes fear mongering or misinformation can also be very damaging and exacerbate anxiety. In an interview with Dr. Scott Leatherdale, whose focus is on Primary Prevention activities, they emphasize the importance of media literacy in order to be mindful of social media consumption.
“It is not always in our best interest to be following the news constantly with large events like COVID…If you want to keep up to date.. Give yourself some limits on how much you’re willing to spend daily reading the news and figure out what is going on,” Dr. Leatherdale said.
The pandemic was a break for millions of people from this face-paced world and the unhealthy amount of pressure that comes with it. This situation can be reframed as a unique opportunity for students to think about their own interests, hobbies, and where they want to go in life. Considering most students are just entering or settling into adulthood, many can use this time to build foundational coping skills and support systems to better react to adversities.
“I think students should focus on following basic behaviour change principles in your lifestyle change… For example, research from smoking cessation, when people quit smoking the best thing from a behaviour standpoint is to replace smoking behaviour with behaviour that is more positive, to kind of fill that void,” Dr. Leatherdale said.
Although this may be difficult at first, adopting effective behaviour change models can help students replace counterproductive behaviours with healthier routines. For instance, replacing the unhealthy use of social media and instead of engaging with friends or family or passions. These are all examples of behaviours that are critical to mental wellness and can help students de-stress from school, work, or other sources of anxiety.
In order to overcome the adversities that the pandemic may bring for students, it is crucial for students and staff to be understanding, as everyone adjusts to an online Fall term. During these times it is important to find ways to adapt to this new normal by either talking with friends, exercising, or taking up new hobbies. Know that you are not alone and help is available if needed. You are more resilient than you think.
Student Support Resources: Campus Wellness
Good2talk: Campus wellness