Why You Still Need Structure During Quarantine, and How to Maintain It

With this unprecedented time of quarantine due to the novel coronavirus, many people have felt as though their days are blurring together.  You can’t scroll through Twitter or Instagram without coming across a joke about not knowing what day it is anymore.  And, I get it.  Our routines have been abruptly mooted and our lives have become painfully monotonous, so it’s easy to lose track of time and to allow the structure in our lives to fall apart.

 However, I can see a lot of physical and emotional risks coming out of these unstructured days so many are leading.  Plus, we’re going to go back to school or work eventually, and when we do, we don’t want our mindsets and body clocks to be so out of whack.  While I think that we can all agree that those people making schedules down to the minute for themselves and their kids are ridiculous, we all need to maintain structure in our lives in some way.  Here why it’s important, and how to do it:

Make an effort to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day

As anyone who has ever stayed up way too late or woken up way too early knows, your sleep patterns definitely dictate your mood.  Since none of us have physical classes or workplaces to show up at, for the time being, we’ve fallen into a pattern of thinking that we can stay up or sleep in super late.  If you keep your body clock regulated, your mood will stay relatively stable.  Plus, you’ll be good to go when you need to start waking up at 6 am again.

To be productive, take breaks

It sounds counterintuitive, but burnout is a very real problem.  If you work for hours on end, you’ll eventually become bored or frustrated and spend hours on end binging The Office on Netflix.  I recommend trying the Pomodoro method, which involves working for 25 minutes then taking a 5-minute break to refill your coffee cup, grab a snack, or check Instagram.  After a few 25-5 rounds, you can take a longer break. 

Set a daily goal

It doesn’t have to be a major goal, but when you have clear expectations of yourself, you’re going to want to meet it.  Your goal can be related to your online classes (finish your history paper), to your personal life (clean your room), or to your health (exercise for 30 minutes).  There’s no need to make a strict schedule for yourself, but having an idea of what you want to accomplish will prevent you from wasting your days away.

Continue to practice hygiene and skincare

Lots of people have neglected their appearance during the quarantine.  It’s easy to just throw on sweatpants and eschew makeup when nobody important is going to see you.  I’m not here to tell you that you have to dress business casual, but neglecting your skincare or hygiene routines is not going to put you in the right mindset to tackle your to-do list.  If you’re used to doing a face mask every night, continue to do so.  If you shave, try to keep up with your body hair.  If you wash your hair 4 times a week, keep washing your hair 4 times a week.  The more you feel like yourself, the more likely you are to feel like you can do things other than watching TV and snacking.