Mental Health and Remote Learning

As the nation continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic, schools around the country are doing remote learning or a combination of remote learning and in school education.  For those children who are sitting at a computer for hours a day, it can prove to be quite demanding.  There are steps you and your children can take, however, to maintain good mental (and physical) health.

Take Breaks During Remote Learning

When it comes to remote learning or even working remotely, “short term breaks are a good thing,” says Kevin Stromberg, Lead Clinical Therapist at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health, a subsidiary of Edward-Elmhurst Health.  Stromberg specializes in children and adolescent behavioral issues and mental disorders, including: Anxiety, anger management, domestic violence, and family therapy, among others.  “I usually encourage my clients to take a break ten minutes almost every hour,” he says, or about every 70 minutes as some schools are doing classes that long.

“Grab a drink of water, get up, stretch,” Stromberg encourages.  This may take some planning but if you build time into your day to relax your eyes, stretch your muscles, get in some play time or a workout, it will help relax your mind as well as release endorphins, chemicals which reduce pain and improve overall well-being.

Get Enough Sleep the Night Before

Since home has become school, many students have not had to catch a bus or walk to school, leaving potentially more time in the morning to sleep.   “People are staying up later so then they sleep in later,” says Stromberg, but “we do still want to have a consistent bed time.”  Experts urge students to get eight to ten hours of sleep and reduce screen time later at night.  For more tips for a better night’s sleep, check out this blog.

Maintain Social Connection

Because people thrive on social interaction with others, it’s important to keep those connections going, even if having to do so in more creative ways using technology, such as:

  • Face Time calls
  • Zoom conferencing
  • Video games
  • Video chat while watching TV, movies, or sports

Be a Support System

More of a tip for parents than the students themselves, it’s important that parents support their kids through this trying time.  Listen to their needs and concerns carefully.  Guide and support them.  Be honest with one another about the stress each of you may be feeling due to remote learning and/or remote working.

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