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7 Ways to Unplug After Online Classes

By Jessica Robinson
Teachers face burnout while teaching in all settings, however, here are the most effective ways to unplug after online classes

As a popular phrase goes, “East or West, home is best.” But with the rate of technological advancements globally, that may be fading away. Precisely, “East or West, phone seems best.” With the advent of e-learning apps, online classes, and eCommerce, the amount of time spent on digital platforms is drastically increasing.

Whether it’s taking online classes, streaming music, shopping, or booking a flight, the amount of time spent on screen is increasing across all ages and in all countries globally. The latest statistics indicate that an average person spends at least 6 hours looking at a screen every day. Another study indicates that online users spend an average of three hours and 53 minutes on social media each day.

There is a lot of noise that comes from digital spaces although we may fail to realize it. Instead of physical face-to-face interactions, many people have ditched that for phone use. Post the pandemic, the number of teachers taking online classes has also increased worldwide. This means more time looking at the screen whether it’s a phone, tablet, or laptop to get things done.

That wouldn’t be a major problem since it would improve our way of living, but there is a detrimental side that needs to be assessed, especially for our dear teachers. An aggravated amount of screen use can cause mental clutter and cut you off from real life.

Teaching online has also become more challenging as there is a constant need to keep learners engaged and build a supportive e-learning environment. More to that, educators must track student performance and maintain records.

Although there is a range of digital tools and technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) that are transforming education, this can have a detrimental effect on educators. Many teachers are left drained and unable to set definite boundaries to help them focus on their mental well-being or general welfare. If you’re an educator and fond of teaching online, here are some of the ways you can effectively unplug from your teaching duties and focus on your me-time. 

1. Post assignments/materials online prior 

To optimize your free time, apply the Pareto principle to effectively manage your day’s tasks. Upload all student assignments, materials, and guidelines on a student portal or on platforms like Google Classroom ahead of time. This helps students access the material at any time and it allows you to direct time to other calls.

Nowadays educational institutions use software like LMS (Learning Management System) to help students access learning content and educational resources anywhere. It also makes it easy for teachers to track and manage student performance, curriculum, and other concerns. 

Together with other tools, you can provide all the necessary materials to students in advance and save yourself from the otherwise inevitable stress.

2. Wise up with candid conversations

Although physical face-to-face interactions are limited with e-learning, online classes can be interactive and more engaging on a positive note. You don’t have to stick to rigid schedules or timetables that simply make learning hard. As a teacher, you can create productive free time where you and your students interact via a chat group or audio calls during the online class. 

Discussions and storytelling are some of the best approaches to consider when it comes to unplugging from online classes. This can be in the middle of the lesson or at the end. Candid conversions are a good way to sign out from any online conversion. It will not only stimulate positive vibes in you, but it will also leave your learners looking forward to the next lesson.

For example, you can choose to share experiences at the end of the lesson or allow your students to share their remarkable moments. Through this, you will help your brain to unplug from teaching and prep for the next activity. 

3. Banish your phone

Phone use increases the amount of time people spend in front of a screen. In no time, you will notice a negative impact on your work-life balance. Such unhealthy relationships with digital tools make us lose track of time, postpone tasks and before we realize it, we are crushed. You can consider a few things to effectively unplug from online teaching and all digital mediums.

You can disable notifications, keep your phone silent or keep it away. Many people want to reduce their phone use, but every time they hear their phones buzz they are unable to resist the temptation. Try developing a no-phone period to detoxify your brain. You may also have to stay away from anything connected to online teaching by switching the environment.  

4. Listen to music

Listening to music is a good way to release stress and it can help you deal with anxiety. Generally, when one is stressed, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. When faced with a threatening situation, the hormone can help us overcome the situation. However, extended production of cortisol in daily life is associated with a set of effects. 

It can increase anxiety, inflammation and compromise the immune system. Studies show the significant effect of music on mental and physical health. Listening to music can help release a happy hormone (dopamine) that calms the nervous system and reduces cortisol levels. It can help calm the nervous system and energize the body.

Studies also indicate that listening to at least three songs a day helps to reduce the effects of stress and depression. If possible dance and sing along to help improve your mental wellbeing and rejuvenate your body. This will help you to effectively unplug from the teaching routine and redirect your focus on what makes you happy.

5. Play with your pets

Teaching can at times prove exhausting and demanding even if you have the passion to drive ahead. If you have pets at home, they can help you feel alive again during stressful days. For example, you can play with them after your online class. Games like hide and seek, sheet chase, and chasing the red dot can help you get positive vibes. Or you can take your dog for a walk to help you unplug from online teaching.

6. Take a walk

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a short walk a few blocks from your home can contribute to your longevity. Teaching online generally means sitting in front of the screen, perhaps half a day or the entire day. A lack of physical activity can trigger a range of health issues such as arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Also, being in front of digital tools can detach you from the beauty of life and nature. Instead of hibernating indoors from Monday to Friday, try making time to walk around the neighborhood in the evenings. Watch the sunset, go shopping, or hang out with friends.   

Walking around will allow you to effectively unplug and refresh your mind. You will also be able to look at beautiful sceneries to rejuvenate your body and improve your eyesight. Besides, you may be able to build your social circle as there is life outside our professional walls.     

7. Meditate     

Meditation can help you achieve inner calmness, and break mental barriers. Several studies have shown how meditation can improve emotional well-being and promote mental hygiene. There are different types of meditation, however, you can consider a few like Mantra meditation, Qi gong, and guided meditation.

Besides physical exercise, meditation is one of the best self-improvement techniques you can consider to improve your overall quality of life.

Written by Jessica Robinson for Tefl.NET August 2022
Jessica Robinson loves to write interesting and knowledgeable blogs regarding business management, education and life to satiate the curiosity of her readers.
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