Student to Student: Tips on Maintaining a Sense of ‘Normal’ During COVID-19

by on Apr 8th, 2020

There are these moments that I’ve been having lately since I started working and having classes at home that are surreal, and I think a lot of us are having them. They are moments that catch me off guard. They have this overwhelming sense of change to them, floating around all of us. What we perceived as our ‘normal’ and how it doesn’t exist anymore. This pandemic has indeed changed our ‘normal,’ but there are things we can do day-to-day that can help us with this transition. These are just a couple things that I have been trying to do to keep a sense of what I used to know.

Getting Ready for My Day

This might seem really simple, but I know the first couple days I was at home I would crawl out of bed and move myself to the couch without much thought. It got harder and harder to get out of bed until I started to make myself go through the same mundane routine of getting ready. Even the simple step of making a pot of coffee helped me with the rest of my day. I set my alarm for the same time every morning and I have been consistent on waking up before it even goes off now. These are a couple other things you can add to a morning routine.

  • Brush your teeth
  • Shower
  • Get dressed
  • Brush your hair
  • Do your makeup
  • Moisturize your face/body
  • Meditate
  • Make a cup of coffee or tea (or any morning beverage)
  • Make breakfast (even if it just cereal)

Really the sky’s not the limit here, you can do anything in the morning and call it a routine as long you do it every morning. Wanna do 50 push-ups every morning, or pick out only the marshmallows from the luck charms? Go ahead, this is YOUR morning! Just make sure it’s maintainable.

Setting and Keeping a Schedule

When a lot of things are unknown for me, I like to plan what I can. A schedule can be extremely helpful to feel like you are planning and having control over something. Blocking out your time with a similar schedule as when your in-person classes were can be a great default schedule. You had an 11 a.m. PSYC class on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Great! Sit down at those times to go over your course material. You can change this to your liking, just try to be consistent every day or every week.

I use google calendar for personal and class planning and I use Microsoft’s calendar for work planning. The kicker here is that I need them to sync together so I don’t double book myself. I am an android user so I use an app called Business Calendar Pro, which allows me to see everything in one place on my phone. I also have it written down in a Happy Planner and on a huge homemade calendar on my living room wall. A couple things to remember though:

  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always stick to it, plans can change
  • Don’t forget to add your new due dates for class assignments
  • Keep it maintainable and consistent

Having trouble keeping to it? Find an accountability buddy. This person doesn’t need to be in any of your classes, but someone that might also need help to keep and maintain a schedule.

Putting Away or Ignoring Social Media

This is something I know for a lot of people won’t be easy but hear me out. The more information that you consume about COVID-19 (and there is just so much on every social media platform right now) the more things you have to worry about. This cycle just continues until you are huddled in the corner grasping your cellphone with tears running down your face.

Even if it is only for an hour, try to focus on something else like schoolwork or just staring blankly at a wall. Also remember to get your information from credible resources. As academics, I hope we all know how to pick those out but just because someone posted it on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t make it law. Do your own research if you are concerned.

Keeping My Mind Active

If you find yourself unable to focus on schoolwork, there are other ways to keep your mind sharp or feel productive. I know for myself I love the docuseries category on Netflix. Has anyone seen Abstract: The Art of Design or Chelsea Does? Other simple things I have tried to do to keep my mind active:

  • Puzzles – Physical ones or even download an app
  • YouTube Productivity videos (like Thomas Frank)
  • Explore an old passion
  • Find a new passion
  • Read a book not for school
  • Play a strategy game

Relaxing

Easier said than done for sure but honestly taking time out of my day to do something calming or sit blankly listening to music has helped my mind slow down and focus. There are so many things you can do to relax. You can do this at the beginning of your day during your morning routine or in the middle of your day by having a shower. Even doing something relaxing at the end of your day before bed can be helpful. Whatever it is that you do for yourself to relax these are important times to take for yourself and it is okay to take that time for you.