Healthy Routines for Social Distancing

Due to social distancing, I can safely say that 2020 has not been “my year” so far. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for social distancing because it is crucial to stop the spread of COVID-19. Everyone that can social distance needs to do so or else the current situation will just get worse. However, I would be lying if I said social distancing was perfect and had no downsides. For a lot of people this strange time has hurt their productivity, mental health, relationships, and so much more. These issues can be caused by not having a routine anymore. I know I struggled with this at first too. I have been social distancing for over a month now and have luckily found some ways to form healthy routines to help me get through the days as normally as I can. 



1. Put on fresh clothes everyday. 

I know this might sound auditing at first because who doesn’t love their pajamas? But trust me, changing out of your sleep clothes helps your mind adjust to a new day. Before all this craziness happened, most people had to put on new clothes and go to work/school/errands, so this step keeps that routine in your life. What you wear will honestly depend on what makes you feel the most ready to conquer the day. For me, changing out of my comfy pajamas and into other comfy clothes is enough (my go-to is leggings and a sweatshirt). For others, they might need to put on a full outfit, while some might dress just from the waist up. Pick what works for you!


a person sits crosslegged on the ground folding laundry, including jeans and shirts which sit in piles before them


2. Try to do your work at their original times.

For example, if you normally had a class from 9 to 10 a.m., then do any work you have from that class at that time. This keeps your mind still in school/work mode and will lessen procrastination. I know time differences can be tricky, so I would recommend doing it either at the original 9 to 10 a.m. converted to your time zone or do it at 9 to 10 a.m. in your current time zone. If you don’t have any work during that time, try and get ahead on something else or do another productive task. 


3. Keep a journal

I’m not saying you have to journal everyday, because I know that’s a daunting task. If that works for you, great! If not, try a more lenient journaling method. Personally, I journal every three to four days and recap what happened in those days. This way I don’t feel guilty if I miss a day or unmotivated if I didn’t do enough in one day. I usually write about my general feelings, what my classes were like, what I watched, etc. Customize your entries to what you want to write about! We’re in a very strange but interesting time, so you might want to look back at those entries later in life. This is literally a historical moment we’re living through! 


a hand holds a pen writing on sheets of paper on a wooden desk. there's a coffee cup and a notebook in front of it.


4. Write down something that made you happy every day

This is super fast and low commitment. This is a routine I’ve had for a few months now and it honestly is really helpful. These social distancing times can definitely bum you out or make you feel like nothing good is happening. That’s not true. I swear by this tip because it makes you reflect on the day and remember something that you enjoyed. It can be something big like making brownies or getting a good grade, or something small like watching an episode of a show you liked or having a good lunch. This positive self reflection will hopefully get you in a better mindset. My personal advice is to do this close to when you’d sleep, so it puts your mind at ease before you hit the pillow! And if you forget one day, no worries you can just write it down the next day. 


5. Have a sleep schedule 

I know it feels like you might have no rules right now, but trust me you’re gonna have a sleep schedule. Staying up until 4 a.m. might sound like a good idea, until you realize you have a zoom meeting at 9 a.m. Sleep is so important to our bodies and we realistically need eight to nine hours for our body and mind to fully refresh. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and try to wake up at the same time. I usually have a 30-minute leniency but for the most part my schedule is set in stone. Find what works best for you and stick with it! 


poetry book & tea


6. Don’t stare at your phone/computer all day

It can be tempting to do this and our work might even require lots of time on our devices, but try and take breaks. Constantly staring at our devices creates eye strain and headaches and can make us feel unmotivated. Get whatever work you have done but balance that with some off the grid hobbies like reading, baking, or painting. Now is the time to explore hobbies so don’t waste all your time on your phone.