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Mental health for lifelong learning

With lockdowns continuing across Australia and many learners now studying from home, it's important to consider the relationship between mental health, self care and learning.

Learning, whether done online or in person, can be overwhelming. Whether you’re starting a new course or finishing something that’s been on the back burner, it’s more important than ever to keep your personal wellbeing front of mind.

Get enough sleep
Arianna Huffington has said “a good day begins the night before”, a statement that is backed by science. The Sleep Health Foundation advises that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. As sleep supports memory creation, it goes without saying that getting a good night’s sleep is central to successful learning. Try to maintain a night-time routine that finds you winding down before lights out. This may include limiting your use of electronic devices one hour before bed, drinking herbal tea, and reading a book.

Set realistic goals
Make sure you set realistic goals with your learning. You are never going to complete all your assignments in one day, but you can probably make a decent start on one. Setting achievable goals will help you to reach your target without feeling overwhelmed. You can do this with something as simple as writing a to-do list to sort out your priorities (and make sure you make setting aside time for learning one of them!).

Plan your week on Sunday
While you’re on your learning journey, you may want to invest in a planner. Planning your week on Sunday allows you time to map out important deadlines and time for yourself. Knowing what is happening in your week ahead will give you control over your time and limit any last-minute surprises that can cause stress and anxiety.

Stay active
Your physical health is closely tied with your mental wellbeing so it’s no surprise that moving your muscles is on our list! It's easy to let exercise fall off your radar during lockdown, but even as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day can completely change your mood. Use your planner to set out some time to exercise and watch your energy boost.

Practice mindfulness
You’re all probably sick of hearing about practicing mindfulness, but that’s because it really works! There are so many helpful apps and tools out there to help you get started and keep you going. Try the Headspace or Calm apps (with the soothing voice of Harry Styles) to guide your breathing. By focusing on our breath, we eliminate any outside influences and really sit in the present. Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to take long. You could use 10 minutes away from your screen to follow a guided meditation or include it in your night routine.

Best of luck with your wellness and your learning!

Caitlin Gilmour
12 August 2021 2 Min Read

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