When the pandemic started, many businesses shifted to remote working arrangements. This has led to a dramatic shift in how workers operate, with employees sitting in front of their computers for longer durations than they ever did at the office. Many workers have also found themselves furloughed, leaving them with plenty of free time. 

The BBC reports that online learning has become more popular in this period, with the Department for Education itself even having launched a collection of job-related online courses teaching numeracy, coding, and internet skills. Like remote work, e-learning requires the participants to sit in front of a screen for a long time, which can easily lead to burnout.

‘Burnout’ is a mental health state that results from work and learning-related distress. This is usually brought on by exhaustion, detachment, and discomfort (in this case, discomfort with virtual communication tools and digital technologies). Burnout leads to a lack of motivation, causing you to become disinterested and less productive. 

If you have found yourself learning online, or are planning to do so in the near future, here are some tips to avoid burnout.

Take Breaks

It’s crucial that you take time away from looking at a screen. Research by Frontiers in Public Health shows that altered blinking patterns, excessive exposure to screens, closer working distance, and small font sizes all lead to digital eye strain. When this happens, you end up with blurred vision, as well as neck and back pain, further stalling your productivity. Taking breaks can also help release tension and maintain interest and attention. 

A Verizon Connect guide to working smart details how your brain can only focus on a particular task for around 90 minutes before you start to lose focus. It’s far better and more time-efficient to take a quick 10-minute break to refresh your eyes and mind rather than straining to finish a simple task.

Get Moving

There’s growing evidence that staying active helps reduce stress and improves overall well-being. For instance, in British Vogue’s write-up on overcoming mental fatigue, they highlight how gentle exercises such as yoga and pilates are said to boost psychological mechanisms linked to burnout. This leads to better stress management and coping abilities. The same can be said for a number of other forms of exercise, too.

You don’t need to have an elaborate fitness plan. Even something as simple as taking a walk or doing some stretching exercises can help your body and mind stay in shape. Developing healthy practices can help the body learn to react to stress in a more resilient, positive way.

Dedicate Space and Time

Flexibility is one of the advantages of e-learning, as we previously mentioned in our ‘E-Learning and What It Can Mean to You’ post. It lets you work at your own pace and in your own space. E-learning offers you a higher degree of comfort, but for some, learning from home could entail several distractions, including social media, the telly, children, pets, and other people within the household. Having all of that on top of e-learning courses could prove a little much. It makes it challenging to stay focused and absorb the learning materials.

Carve out the most optimal time for you to study. If you have set online classes, try to work around that schedule to free up that time. This way, you’ll be able to focus your undivided attention on studying. It would also do you good to have a fixed area where you can remain undisturbed. As long as you have stable internet access and a relatively quiet space, you’ll be all set.

In today’s world, where everything is done through the internet, it’s very easy to fall into bad online habits which could lead to burnout. But as e-learners, it’s crucial that we maintain a healthy balance between online and offline activities. You should be able to step back and recalibrate so that you can be in your best mental state as you continue learning. Article written for the exclusive use of goodelearning.com

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Alessa Benson is a freelance tech writer with a passion for helping others. She hopes her years of experience as a blogger will prove useful to those looking for guidance in this digital world. In her free time, she loves to hike.