For many students today, learning online has become a popular choice. Online learning provides an additional degree of flexibility compared to traditional degree programs and students can often benefit from cutting costs by studying from home. In addition, students who need to continue working and earning money throughout the process of getting their college degree will often find that studying online makes it easier for them to do this, with a lower opportunity cost because students can fit their studies around their work-life rather than the other way around.
In addition to online learning becoming more popular with students, colleges and universities are also seeing the benefits of offering these distance-learning programs. Today, there are more colleges than ever before that operate completely online and many of the best universities now offer online programs to choose from.
Deciding to study online could be the best choice for you for many reasons. Whether you have other commitments that you would find difficult to uphold while getting a traditional degree or simply want to save money on your education, there are many benefits to studying online. However, it’s important to see the bigger picture and have a clear understanding of the drawbacks to online study too. Being an online student is often more isolating compared to studying on-campus and it can often involve a lot of work that has an impact on your mental health and wellbeing, especially for students who are working full-time while juggling full-time study. If you’ve decided to get your degree online, here are some tips for caring for your mental health and wellbeing throughout the process.
As an online student, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to minimize as much unnecessary stress as you can. One of the easiest ways to do this is to prepare in advance for your degree. For example, if you have decided to get a Christian psychology degree from Central Christian University online, you should spend some time reading up about what to expect. If you are enrolled but the program has not yet started, you may be able to get access to the learning materials to give yourself a head start. If you can, get in touch with your tutor before the program starts since they are likely to be less busy during this time and will be able to spend more time talking to you and answering your questions.
Design a Schedule:
Designing a study schedule that works for you is one of the first things that you should do if you have decided to take an online degree program that offers complete flexibility. While being able to choose when and where to study is often one of the biggest benefits for students who are working full-time and need to be able to tailor their degree program to suit them personally, it can also have the disadvantage of being easy to skip learning sessions or procrastinate until your deadlines are looming dangerously and you need to cram to keep up. Going over your study schedule to see where you have any spare time that you can dedicate to learning will help you get into a good routine and avoid being left behind, which will keep you in control and avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.
When you’re studying for an online degree from home, it can be all too tempting to stay up late into the night to get the work done, especially if you are also working full-time and sometimes struggle to find the hours in the day to complete everything that you need to do. However, while the occasional late-night study session probably won’t do a lot of harm, this is something that you should always avoid getting into the habit of doing since losing out on sleep can have a significant impact on your mental health, stress levels, and overall wellbeing. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of quality sleep each night, even if that means shutting down your computer and leaving some work until the morning.
Contrary to popular belief, you’re not completely on your own when you study for your degree online. While you may not have the same socialization options as other students who are taking part in traditional classroom learning, the good news is that any good online program will provide students with a range of options to reach out to and get to know their peers. Along with being crucial for professional networking, it can also be an ideal way for you to make new friends and build relationships with like-minded people. Be as active as possible in chat rooms, online forums, and informal social media groups and group chats set up by students. If you’re struggling to find a social media group for your program, why not be proactive and be the student who creates one?
Research Student Support:
Knowing what support and resources will be available to you if you need them will make a huge difference to how confident you feel when you are going through the process of getting your online degree. Every student is likely to need some help from time to time, even when they are studying online. Chances are that you will be able to access the same kind of support provided by your university or college as traditional, classroom-based students do – after all, you’re probably paying the same amount in tuition. Most educational institutions will include a wide range of support services for students including career advice, additional classes, online therapy, financial support, and more.
Take Regular Breaks:
When you’re studying online and learning at home, it can be easy to forget about taking breaks. However, working flat-out without taking any time for yourself can be detrimental to both your mental and physical health. After a while, you are likely to find that you are burned out and exhausted, which can cause a wide range of problems in your personal life, professional life, and your studies. When coming up with a schedule that works for you, don’t forget to include time where you’re not working on something and can just enjoy spending time with family and friends, resting and relaxing, and taking part in hobbies and other activities that you enjoy.
Know Your Limits:
The flexibility of online degree programs has made it easier than ever for students to access programs that allow them to continue working full-time, raising families, running their own businesses, and much more alongside studying. However, adding full-time education into the mix can be a huge workload for any student. Understanding your limits is crucial, and it’s important to be honest with yourself if you are struggling to get everything done or are getting burned out very quickly. We are all different when it comes to how much we can handle, and there is no shame in admitting that things are becoming a little bit too much for you. In this case, it might be worth considering changing to a program that allows you to study part-time instead of making adjustments in other parts of your life so that you’re not so overwhelmed.
Speak to Your Employer:
Knowing that your employer is fully supportive of your educational venture can provide a lot of peace of mind for students. If you are currently working in a role where getting an online degree will benefit both you and your employer, you may be entitled to more support and help than you realize. With tax benefits available for many employers who provide financial support to employees who want to improve their education, you may be able to take advantage of programs where you can get help with paying for tuition or even have the entire cost of your degree covered by your place of work, which can relieve a lot of financial stress. Even if you’re not able to get financial help from your employer, it is always worth speaking to your boss about your plans as they may be able to help in other ways, such as by offering more flexible working hours.
Prioritize a Healthy Lifestyle:
Last but not least, prioritizing your own health and wellbeing by living a lifestyle that is as healthy as possible is one of the most important things that you can do to improve and maintain good mental health as an online student. When you’re juggling work and other commitments with online study, it can be difficult to find the time to look after your health, but you will feel so much better if you dedicate yourself to getting at least a little bit of exercise per day and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Simple steps like keeping a bottle of water on your desk so that you can stay hydrated, standing up and moving around every hour, and eating foods like fruit and vegetables that are good for your brain will all add up to boost your overall health and wellbeing.
Studying for an online degree can be hard work, especially if you’re doing it alongside work and other commitments. Keep these tips in mind to minimize the impact of the workload on your mental health and keep yourself healthy and happy as you study.