To support your learning, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Making time to look after all aspects of yourself and your life will help you concentrate and succeed more in your courses.

Keep Mentally Well | Look After Your Whole Self | Maintain Social Connections

Keep Mentally Well

At times throughout the academic year, you may experience fear, stress, and worry—all natural feelings when facing situations that feel beyond your control. Trying to stay positive and expressing emotions are key parts of maintaining good mental health.

Try to stay positive

  • Know that you can learn well online. Distance education is a well-established and effective way to take university courses all over the world. While it offers challenges, online learning also has benefits, like increased flexibility in your schedule and working at your own pace.
  • Be patient with yourself if learning online is new to you. Online learning offers many advantages but also occasional setbacks, like figuring out how each application works or troubleshooting technical issues. Everything may take a little longer, especially in the beginning, and that’s okay.
  • Use the support offered by the university. Bookmark UBC online resources, meet with your instructors during virtual office hours, and form online study groups with peers. Take advantage of counselling services, academic and financial advisors, or disability accommodations, if you need them.
  • Be kind online. Always remember there is a person behind the words you read on screen. Use people’s preferred names (being mindful of spelling and pronunciation) and pronouns, communicate politely, and talk over video when you can. Seeing faces goes a long way toward keeping everyone engaged and connected.
  • Have confidence in yourself. University is about learning and growing, and now is a chance to show yourself just how responsible, focused, and motivated you can be. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t ready to rise to the challenge. You’ve got this.

Tip #1:
To keep up your motivation when learning online, find ways of separating home and school so you can still “go to class”. Set up a study space and schedule specific hours you’ll work there. Try to focus only or mostly on coursework during those times.

Tip #2:
Ask for backup in being accountable. Staying on top of courses can be hard when you’re working away from campus. Don’t assume you need to do it alone. Tell friends, family members, or classmates how you plan to get things done, so they can help hold you to your plans.

Talk to someone

If you’re not sure where to go for help, try using the UBC finding health support tool » to see what free options are available for you.

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Look After Your Whole Self

Wellness is a broad term that can sound impossible to tackle all at once. But like anything, finding places to go for support and advice can help, as well as breaking this abstract idea down into concrete action steps.

Visit a UBC Wellness Centre

The Wellness Centres believe that a healthy mind, body, and spirit are foundations for students to achieve their personal and academic goals. Located in the Life Building (UBC Vancouver) and UNC 337 (UBC Okanagan), the Centres are friendly, peer-hosted spaces that offer many wellbeing services:

UBC Vancouver

Note that the Wellness Centres do not offer crisis support. Consult the UBC crisis support options » for what to do during emergency situations.

Focus on the 5 ways to thrive

Research consistently points to five ways to promote a healthy life. UBC Wellbeing calls these the “Thrive 5”, and each is an important pillar in supporting your wellbeing.

  • Move more: Adding activity to each day can help you manage stress and boost your mood. This movement is especially important when learning online, when you tend to be more sedentary.
  • Sleep soundly: Getting enough quality sleep can help you tackle work, classes, and life’s everyday challenges. At least seven hours of sleep per day also helps boost your immunity and maintain your physical health.
  • Eat well: Eating a balanced diet can fuel your body and mind! Although on-the-go snacks may be convenient, it is important to provide your body with fresh nutritious options too.
  • Give back: Helping others adds to your sense of purpose, connection, and wellbeing. There are many small ways to let people know you care and give support.
  • Say hi: Spending time with family, friends, and community provides a sense of belonging. Try to make time to connect with others—online and in person—as best you can throughout the year.

UBC and UBCO Recreation offer lots of great options for getting more active »

If you want to know more about stress reactions, UBC Student Services has a primer on understanding and managing stress »

This section was adapted from the UBC Wellbeing Thrive 5 page »

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Feel connected

  • Actively stay in touch with people near and far. Try to make time for chats, video calls, or old-fashioned phone calls that support deeper connecting. But even a quick email or text to let others know you’re thinking about them will make you both feel good.
  • Invite others to do activities with you—online or in person. You can play games, watch movies, cook and share meals, and more. The Chapman Learning Commons has compiled an extensive list of things to do for free from home.
  • Engage meaningfully in online course interactions. Classroom discussions can sometimes seem like just another thing to check off in a course, but they don’t have to be. Look for ways to make connections with your peers around (and beyond) course topics.
  • Create online study groups. There are many ways to form online study groups, and they can dramatically improve your motivation and decrease your sense of isolation.

Doing things for others is different than socializing but can reinforce your feeling of connection. You could consider mailing cards to friends or family or running errands for a neighbour.

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