Managing Study Stress During a Global Pandemic

Psychologist and Teacher Kate Plumb talks us through de-stressing in a pandemic. Come and read her handy hints and tips about life and study during a global pandemic, when you thought the most stressful thing you would be facing this year was the HSC exams.

Remember when you thought studying for exams was the most stressful thing, ever. Yeah, well, let’s add a global pandemic into that mix to make it more interesting shall we? Level up, players!

….the actual heck?!?

So, the year of your HSC isn’t quite panning out as you’d planned. There’s immense amounts of uncertainty about everyday life let alone the uncertainty about school and all of your plans for 2021. First and foremost, it needs to be stated that the HSC is still going ahead but is absolutely won’t be the same as it has been for millenia (edit: not millenia).

For some of you this idea might not feel quite right. It can actually be likened to grief as in a loss of something important, which is different to the bereavement you feel when someone you love dies. Acknowledging that this is how you might be feeling is important. What you are feeling is completely normal. And don’t think for a second you’re alone in feeling that way.

The New Normal

Actually, what is ‘Normal” these days, anyway? Uncertainty is the main collective feel right now. Fear, anger, frustration and confusion are all probably equal second on that list. It is important to understand that, again, whatever it is you are feeling right now is absolutely normal and to be expected, given the circumstances. Having never experienced a global pandemic before, it’s kind of hard to know what is normal and what might be considered abnormal. It won’t be like this forever, though. Please bookmark this, this, and this so you have direct access to support to help you manage the bigger feels and so you can get a handle on whatever it is you might be thinking, feeling and doing in response to our new normal.


Are you consuming too much news that’s not good for your mind tank? Not sure how much information to consume at any given time? Fake news is rife right now. This might shock you, but not everything you read on the internet is true. Stick to primary sources to get your daily fix on all things pandemic. Reverting back to mainstream media is probably a great idea as they have a track record of being trustworthy and unbiased in their delivery of the news. Also ask yourself – do I need a minute-by-minute update on how this is all unfolding, or can I just read a wrap-up of the news later in the day? The reality is that the news on Covid-19 is rapidly changing so do your mental wellbeing a favour and cut-back on the news calories. 

Screenagers into Quaranteens

Whatever the latest buzz word, the backflip by the hand-wringers who not so long ago proclaimed far and wide that increased screen time was going to destroy society as we know it has been quite spectacular. The thing is, many leaders in the cyber-field have been saying for yonks that it’s not only about the amount of screen time, but the quality of it that counts. And it’s about balance, not restriction. Now, with everyone indoors, clutching their devices to connect to the outside world, the world is having a major rethink about screen time and it’s benefits. Connectivity from our little self-isopods (aka home) is vital as the alternative simply isn’t an option. Kids, teens, adults and seniors are all online in numbers never seen before. It seems the kids will be ok after all.

Navigating life during a pandemic is not easy. Least of all doing it while you’re in the midst of a major life transition known as Year 12. The best thing you can do right now is; take more time to rest and play, Zoom with your friends, cousins, grandma and grandpa; manage your news consumption and most importantly, keep calm and study on. It might be different to how you planned it, but you will get there in the end. Promise.

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