Ask Ava + COVID-19: Tips for Schoolwork from HomeSupport the show
This is a special series of Ask Ava podcasts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since so many teens and adults have made a huge change to doing their work from home, we wanted to provide some tips for maintaining your mental health while doing so.
This is Jessica Skultety, Community Outreach Associate at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County NJ’s lead domestic violence organization.
Today’s question from local teens is: “How can I manage a big change, like schoolwork from home?”
· First, create and stick to a routine, daily. Your school schedule (including classes, school times, etc.) kept you in a routine. If you have more free time than usual now with school, set aside specific times every day to work.
· Space and time management are also key. This is a good time to practice these things if it's something you've have trouble with. For example, have a designated space for working. If possible, leave that space when you're done with schoolwork. Staying in your bed will get old and it doesn't promote productivity. We suggest somewhere like a desk or kitchen or dining room table, something that is as removed from distractions as possible. You might also want to leave phones or devices far from reach so you can get work done. If you need said devices for schoolwork, try to shut off notifications from friends, etc. until it's time for a break. This can be hard, but if you save up those things, it's something to look forward to at break time, right?
· Think about what you can control and focus on that. You may here news stories and situations may worsen, but what you can control is how you react and what you do in your life. For example, you have control over getting your schoolwork done, studying, and meeting deadlines.
· Another tip: all or video call a family member or friend when you're on a break, to keep up communication. We're all in this together. Also, don't be afraid to reach out and ask someone to talk with you. Just because we are in our homes doesn't mean we should be isolated from others through communication. It's normal to be stressed and anxious in times like this of uncertainty, so practice speaking up when you need someone. It doesn't show weakness – it actually shows strength.
· Another tip: exercise. Take breaks to stretch or do yoga. Get outside, take a walk, ride a bike. There are tons of fitness routines that are free through apps and on Youtube. Exercise actually helps especially when we cannot go to normal sports practices and gyms or even toss around a ball with friends. Those things are not recommended right now, however there are a lot of other things you CAN do, as mentioned!
· Take breaks from the news and social media. We know this is difficult to do, but it is possible and helpful – especially when you have work to do. You may even consider deleting apps or blocking notifications.
· Find music to play in the background while you work. Especially if you did this at school, keep up your normal routine. It promotes productivity.
· Another tip? ASK for help. In school, students have a teacher available and talk to their friends and classmates about assignments, tests, etc. Keep asking those questions – virtually! You're not alone and you're not being left alone to learn everything and understand it immediately, so reach out.
· Do something fun or give yourself a reward after a hard task – like, play a quick game, take a walk, or grab a snack. Find fun things to do when you're done with schoolwork, too, that can occupy your time well and keep your anxiety down.
· Reach out. This is my last tip for now, but I think it’s really important. If you're dealing with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, or want someone to talk to, there are so many resources available.
The Safe+Sound Somerset Call and Text Hotline is still open, 24/7, it’s confidential and free. Our hotline can be used for questions about dating abuse and as a concerned friend or family member, you can call us as well. We also do safety planning, give information about our services, and we help people in crisis. Our phone number is 866-685-1122.
You can call the NJ Hopeline Suicide Prevention Warmline. Their number is 1-855-654-6735. They also have an Online Chat Forum on their website, which is http://www.njhopeline.com/
The 2nd Floor Youth Call or Text Warmline is confidential and anonymous for New Jersey's youth and young adults. They are here to help you find solutions to the problems that you face at home, at school, or at play. The number is 888-222-2228 and they also have a message board on their website – www.2ndfloor.org
The following services are paid and allow you to talk to a licensed therapist. You can go to https://www.talkspace.com/ for texting sessions with a therapist and https://www.betterhelp.com/ for chat, phone and video sessions. Don’t be afraid to reach out, and we wish you the best of luck as you complete your schoolwork at home.
Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.