Feb. 3, 2021

Making the most of your semester online - Part 2: Mental well-being

It's important to take the extra step to make and maintain social connections during the pandemic.
Mental well-being

We all had high hopes for normalcy in 2021  but here we are continuing to study and work remotely. Whether this is your third semester of online learning or your first, we have some tips from our own UCalgary experts to help you get through the term. Jeff Vander Werf, academic success coordinator and counsellor with Student Wellness Services (SWS) shares the following tips:

  • Routine and consistency are key with online learning. Even if your schedule is all over the place with synchronous and asynchronous classes, try to get up, start school work and end your studies at the same time every day.
  • It’s also important to take a break from being on a screen. Maybe try writing your notes by hand or following along with the textbook. Make sure you’re stepping away and going outside for fresh air as well.
  • Set clear boundaries between your school and home life. Ideally your study and living space should be separate, but if that’s not an option there are some simple solutions. You can change the lighting, have separate log ins on your computer or even have a different background to differentiate between school and other activities.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and exercise, staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet. It’s easy to neglect these parts of self-care because you’re busy keeping up with school but in fact that can adversely effect on your academics.
  • Social supports are still important. That was an automatic part of being on campus, but now you have to go the extra mile. Check in with your friends regularly and even schedule a time to call them. You should also make time for your hobbies.
  • Above all, allow yourself to grieve. We’re all going through this together and the pandemic will have an impact no matter where you are in your degree. Adjust your expectations and know that we’ve all missed out on something this year.

“Help is available. Whatever you’re looking for you will find it with us. We’re happy to provide support and some of what we do is finding out what’s the best support for you and making sure you get that.”