Beating burnout: mental wellness for online learners

4 min read   •   April 4, 2024
Kyra Roodt

Juggling online classes, staying focused, and avoiding screen fatigue can be challenging, but at the Impaq Online School, we encourage learners to prioritise their mental health. We know that success means more than just good grades. That’s why we focus on equipping learners with all the tools they need to thrive in their online learning journey.

Our school counsellor, Jente Venter, shares her insights – from warning signs to top tips for managing mental health challenges!

Recognising red flags

As your child navigates online learning, keep an eye out for specific ‘mindset markers’ that might indicate that they are struggling with their mental health.

  1. Changes in mood and behaviour

Watch out for prolonged periods of sadness, irritability, or anxiety in your child. Sudden shifts in mood or behaviour can be indicators of underlying stressors.

  1. Disturbed sleep patterns

Pay attention to your child’s sleep patterns: excessive sleeping or struggling to fall asleep is one of the first signs of stress and anxiety affecting their wellbeing.

  1. Loss of motivation and concentration

Is your child disinterested in classes, subjects, or activities that they once enjoyed or looked forward to? Or do they struggle to focus on completing tasks? Loss of motivation and concentration can indicate your child is struggling.

  1. Social withdrawal

Children experiencing mental health issues often isolate themselves from family, friends, or any social interaction. If your child is shying away from online interactions, there may be more to it than just shyness.

  1. Physical symptoms

Body aches, pains, or appetite changes could all indicate underlying stressors.

If you notice any of the ‘mindset markers’ as explained above, encourage your child to talk to a trusted individual about their struggles and seek professional help if needed.

At the Impaq Online School, learners can talk to our dedicated educators who can provide valuable support and guidance. Online counselling sessions with Jente are included in the school fees, and learners can reach out to her whenever needed.

Also read: Breaking the silence: Understanding self-harm

Make mental health a priority

As a parent, your support and encouragement are crucial to your child’s overall wellbeing and academic success. Here are some practical ways to help your child maintain good mental health – with the help of the Impaq Online School!

Stay connected in a digital world

Combat loneliness by encouraging your child to form a small virtual study group, schedule regular video calls with friends and classmates, and participate in online events at the Impaq Online School, such as our annual virtual bake-off or art exhibition. These events are a great way to meet new friends and alleviate feelings of isolation.

Read more: Breaking the ice on social anxiety

Mindful manoeuvres

Stress and anxiety are not uncommon for children who learn online, but these challenges don’t need to take the pep out of their step! Help your child develop self-discipline and better time management techniques by establishing a daily routine – include study time, relaxation breaks, and physical activity (such as the fitness sessions included in their class timetables). Consistency and balance in their schedule can reduce stress and improve focus.

Also read: Winter warriors: How to stay active in the cold

Me-time mastery

Cultivating self-care is one of the most important things you can do to help your child nurture their overall wellness. Encourage your child to treat the self-care timeslots in their routine with the same importance as their study sessions. Self-care is very personal, and it’s crucial that your child find activities that resonate with them to help them relax and de-stress. They can even use the It’sOK app to reflect on their feelings and check in with their emotions.

Some other me-time techniques to reduce stress and anxiety include:

  • Mindful breathing, where the focus is on following the movement of the breath through the body.
  • Guided meditation (check out your app store for some great digital tools, such as Calm or Headspace).
  • Visualisation, which engages the senses by visualising the sensory details of a peaceful place (such as a beach or a forest).

By prioritising self-care, online learners can maintain a healthier balance between academic responsibilities and overall wellbeing.

Rely on resources

Should you find that your child is struggling to cope with the pressures associated with online learning and needs additional support, we invite you to contact their teacher or to reach out to Jente directly by emailing onlineschool@impaq.co.za.