If you're looking for ways to care for yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should know that a University of Toronto study showed that people with more post-secondary education report stronger feelings of well-being, according to The New York Times. With this in mind, you may want to dabble in adult education during these uncertain times. When you do, the focus that you put into learning and coursework will take your mind off problems. When you successfully complete a course, you'll receive a credential that makes it easier to move up in the world when quarantine eases or ends.
Free online courses are available
While we traditionally consider self-care to be about meditation, exercise, a clean diet, hydration and adequate rest (and all of these things are definitely important and beneficial) stimulating the mind through learning is also part of the equation. If you're not interested in pursuing a traditional degree, through universities that don't require the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations test), such as a Masters of Accounting degree or a Master's in Counseling, you may opt for free online courses that anyone can sign up for. One of the most popular options right now is Yale's 'happiness" course, according to CNN. Known as 'The Science of Well-being", this course may be accessed through the Coursera platform. This distance learning course will debunk common myths about happiness and teach you how to boost your own well-being by changing habits and negative thought patterns.
Video-based lectures will make you feel connected
Many online courses include video-based lectures. Others offer more interaction, through group video chats. If you're feeling isolated during the pandemic, you may find that choosing to take a course of this type helps you to feel more connected to humanity during a difficult time. When you're able to learn via video platforms and connect to professors and other students via chat platforms, it'll help to take away that aching sense of loneliness that so many people are feeling right now. Many people are dealing with anxiety and depression at the moment, and online education may help to ease symptoms. In some cases, a doctor's help may be needed, but some people feel relief just by getting closer to others, if only virtually. Human beings need social interaction, according to Psychology Today, and courses with interactive features offer this kind of social contact.
Reading course materials will clear your mind
Online learning means reading, and a University of Sussex study showed that reading relieves stress. When you lose yourself in reading material, it will help you to unwind. The same University of Sussex study showed that participants' heart rates decreased while they were reading. Reading will also improve your overall intelligence and help you enhance your vocabulary. Sure, you can read juicy fiction novels to get the same benefits, but why not do some reading that leads to personal achievements, such as course credits or certificates? Then, you're de-stressing as you build a foundation for a successful future.
As you can see, education is powerful. You probably knew that already. However, it's empowering from a mental health standpoint as well as in terms of opening up career possibilities. Be sure to nourish your mind, body and spirit with distance education.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist