The need for a routine while social distancing

New social distancing guidelines pose new challenges in everyone's lives. It's important to consider how to maintain as much normal as possible.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

New social distancing guidelines pose new challenges in everyone’s lives. It’s important to consider how to maintain as much normal as possible.

We are just over three weeks into Maryland’s closure of all schools, and this period is an unprecedented one. In one weekend, we lost all certainty of a regular routine, a schedule and a sense of normalcy in our lives. We’ve been told to socially distance ourselves from one another.

With nearly all outdoor attractions limited in service or closed, few are leaving the house. Many are working from home, if they can. Some are simply taking advantage of this unexpected “break” from school as a time they can use to rest and recharge, not doing anything significant all day. I argue, however, that especially for us students, a daily routine is crucial. The more we just do nothing during these times, the harder it will be to get back into the habit of sticking to a routine when we need to. That is, when school does eventually come back (whenever that may be), it will pose a challenge.

Sure, we can make the decision to sit at home and binge on Netflix for hours on end, not leaving the bed for long periods of time. Or, we can choose to make use of this time, and the sense of accomplishment after getting things done may help lift our spirits during this strange, worrying and even unhappy time.

Personally, I find that having a schedule makes each day feel longer, and I therefore have more time to relax from the never-ending involvement in school. While this was hard at first, I wrote myself a schedule in my Notes app and am now doing my best to stick to it. I reserve certain hours of the day for meals, and other hours for any academic things I need to get done, like review work from school and SAT prep. I also incorporate breaks in between each thing I need to do, because it’s still important to make use of this time to be stress-free and take it easy. While one may argue that this is the perfect time to get everything on your to-do list done and be super busy each day, I still think that the majority of your schedule should be reserved for free time, if possible.

If we get in the habit of maintaining a routine in this routine-lacking time, not only will we feel much better even with all the worrying developments occurring beyond our control, but, when the time comes, the return to the normal routine we all are used to will be so much easier.

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