The not too recent turn of events had certainly tested the limits of our resilience and put great emphasis on the importance of maintaining good health and wellbeing by paying particular attention to the state of our mental health. Remote learning, virtual lectures, homeschooling, and social distancing, were not our ideal choice but here we are!
We have no control over the first part; however, we can exercise our freedom by choosing what happens next, what we do about the situation, how we handle it, and this is what matters. As the philosopher, Epictetus expressed it in a stoic mindset. So, here I am sharing some of my own survival guide that got me to the other side of virtual learn traps while keeping my mental health intact amidst the challenges of virtual learning.
“If you have the right idea about what really belongs to you and what does not, you will never be subject to force or hindrance, you will never blame or criticise anyone, and everything you do will be done willingly.”Epictetus
It is of great importance to stay connected to your mental power sources, to people who matter to you the most, where you get unconditional support which will result in charging your mental health and overall wellbeing battery.
So regardless of the shape, form, or condition of the connection, it is permitted to your disposal right now, use it! Social media outlets such as Facebook, Insta, or WhatsApp are great sources at the moment, so use them to your advantage. My WhatsApp call record had definitely increased during the last few weeks, as I used to call my mother and sisters back home, almost every day and I would bore them with the details of my tasks, but they would listen patiently and encourage me with their kind words and prayers, and that gave me both comfort and relief, just to know your far away loved ones can still somehow be close by your side when you need them the most. Moreover, maintaining communication lines with your cohort is also vital, though you need to be wary and avoid last-minute panics as it could lead to high-stress levels. Also, stay in touch with the circle of close friends who are on the same boat as you are, so whenever someone is tired of rowing, another can step in and keep the boat floating above the water and the spirit from sinking into hopelessness.
Find something that brings an instant burst of joy to your heart, it could well be a song that makes you smile and move your feet before you think, even if you are like me and dancing is not your best quality, it works like magic every time, and it makes my little sunshine laugh her head off at my unrhythmic moves. Our favourite song for the past year, without any hesitation, is happy by Justin Timberlake from the Trolls movie. I honestly cannot tell you how many times we played it throughout the first lockdown, second wave, long summer days with no holiday and social distancing restrictions and current lockdown, and every time without fail, and despite all the odds, we have moved and laughed from the bottom of our hearts!
We go through life in phases and owning your narrative is important. Sit back and reflect, not in a harsh, neither judgmental way, just in a purely constructive manner to take it all in and consider it a lesson, then ask yourself what went well, what didn’t, how am I feeling now and what would I do differently next time. Only then we are ready to move forward, not with extra useless luggage of fears but with stronger mentality and wisdom of the accumulated past experiences that would help us make a better judgment from this point on, to the next level, game, journey or adventure, call it what you will but remember, however, you choose to look at it, and whatever you call it, full ownership is a must.
Do not, under any circumstances, suffer in silence, you will not win a prize for doing so, as my lecturer used to say, so make sure you allocate sources of support provided by the university or the workplace, find out how to access the various services available to us. For financial matters, students can contact the Money Advice team, for mental health issues Togetherall or RHAMMHE would be the best starting point, check out mentoring programs that exist in university or in the workplace, an excellent way to start building your network. For more advice on virtual networking check out the Art of Virtual networking blog here. Lastly, if you decide to expand your horizon and get ready for a brighter future, you can always rely on the SkillStruct University Network to give you a head start in the game.