Online students enjoy a wide range of benefits. Studying online means that you can get an advanced degree without having to put your career on hold, or work to get your degree in a more flexible setting where you are in control over when, where and how you study in a way that isn’t possible for on-campus students. While this high level of flexibility and convenience is one of the key attractions of online learning, it’s important for students to look after their health and wellness in order to boost their personal happiness, improve physical health, and of course, bring their grades up.
‘Sitting is the new smoking’ is a phrase that we’ve been hearing a lot in the corporate world, with many companies today investing in sit-to-stand desks or encouraging employees to take frequent short breaks to get up and stretch their legs. Unfortunately, many college students are at a high risk of developing health issues related to a sedentary lifestyle, and it’s particularly easy for those studying online end up leading a more sedentary lifestyle compared to others since they don’t have to navigate the campus, climb stairs to lectures or wait in line at lunchtime.
Extended computer use can lead to a range of issues and ailments, and online students could easily be putting in 40-50 hours per week of intensive screen time while sitting at a desk. This can lead to repetitive stress injury, vision problems, and headaches, stress disorders, musculoskeletal problems, and obesity. Online students should consider their work environment and take steps to ensure that their lifestyle doesn’t get too sedentary in order to reduce any of these risks.
Create a Comfortable Workspace:
If you always find yourself with a painful back when you’ve been studying for a while then it might be a sign that your workspace needs a comfort upgrade. Along with putting together a dedicated study area in your home where you will be free from distractions to study, invest in an ergonomically correct chair that you can adjust to fit your body just right. While sitting at your laptop or computer, the angles of your back and thighs, thighs and legs, and your legs and feet should all be at 90 degrees.
You can also avoid developing repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome by taking a quick break every thirty minutes to get up and stretch. A standing desk can also be useful; this will encourage you to stretch your neck, back, legs, shoulders, ankles, and wrists on a frequent basis as you study.
Get Enough Sleep:
Many online students find that because they study from home, it can get difficult to switch off from it at night. But if you find yourself up late into the night finishing off assignments or replying to emails from your tutor, you will not be doing your health and wellness any favors. Experts say that there are significant links between sleep disorders and screen time; using a laptop, phone, or tablet into the night can interfere with your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which in turn is more likely to leave you suffering from insomnia. Avoid working in bed or directly before going to bed; instead, have a relaxing bedtime routine and turn in early if you need to so that you’ve got time in the morning to get up and complete your work when you’re fresh.
Studying for an advanced online degree such as these NNP programs from Baylor University can be very intensive, and as a result, it’s not uncommon for students to find themselves socially isolated. Ifall you seem to be doing these days is going to work and coming home to study, set aside some time to spend with your friends and make this a priority each week. It’s important for us to have human connections; while there are increasing opportunities for online students to make friends virtually in class chat rooms and on social media, it’s important to spend some time with friends in-person too. You might even like to consider organizing meet-ups for online students in your area or get a regular study group together with local peers from your online class.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health states that over half of children and adolescents in the United States are dehydrated, and many adults aren’t drinking as much water as they should be, either. If you are studying for a health-related online degree, then you’ll know just how important it is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Even mild dehydration can lead to issues that might interfere with your studies, such as:
- Poor physical performance
- Reduced cognitive functioning
Create a Positive Space:
Along with making sure that your study environment at home is optimized for your physical health with an ergonomic desk chair and a standing desk if you prefer to use one, it’s also important to make it a good space for your mental health and wellbeing too. Simply spending some time decorating your workspace with:
- Happy colors
- Cheerful houseplants
- Photos of loved ones
- Happy and relaxing artwork
This can make a huge improvement to your mood when you sit down to study. Decorate in ways that make you feel good to make space your own; remember there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way to decorate a study space perfectly – it really is all down to what you prefer and what’s going to make you feel happiest when you sit own to attend an online class, catch up with course reading or write an assignment.
Last but not least, make sure that you are taking care of your basic needs. If the weather is nice, consider studying outside for some time to get some fresh air and vitamin D, and make sure that you do at least a little physical activity each day. Batch cooking healthy meals to freeze at the beginning of the week can be an ideal way to make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients in the most convenient way.