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As a month of government-mandated time at home passes by, we have had plenty of time to adjust to remote learning. But while online classes have their perks, I have found that working at home can be distracting and a bit too comfortable. At times it is hard to remember that I am still a student; I still need to tend to my responsibilities, like studying and attending class every day. While I struggled for the first few weeks, I was able to find my footing with these helpful tips. 

The first thing I did was settle into a routine. This was definitely the most impactful change I made since online classes started. Since most of us are quarantined comfortably at home with our families, it can be hard to remember that we should be actively participating in school and the other activities and extracurriculars we’d be involved in if we were on campus. Establishing a routine provides structure to your days and productivity will come about naturally.

Setting a routine does not have to mean planning out every hour of the day. Instead, try splitting your days into three parts: mornings, afternoons and nights. From there, figure out what you want to get done in each part. I decided to study, do yoga and meditate in the mornings while finishing homework and exercise at night. I left my afternoons flexible. This way I was able to stay motivated and on track throughout the day but still have the freedom to relax and pursue extracurricular activities. 

Since quarantine started, I have spent considerably more time on my phone than I used to. Upon waking up, I would immediately open my phone; before I knew it, half the day would pass me by. By instead starting my day with meditation, I was setting myself up for a more productive and active day.

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I was always a bit skeptical of how beneficial meditation could be, but I figured now was as good a time as any to try it out. I started meditating for just three to five minutes in the morning every day, and I found it to be a relaxing and energizing way to start the day.

The best aspect of this activity is how brief each session can be. Beginners start by meditating for only three minutes at a time and gradually building up to around 10 minutes or more. There are many apps and online videos that can guide you through your first meditation. By simply closing my eyes and meditating for a couple of minutes in the morning, I felt a significant spike in my energy and productivity levels. 

Productivity does not mean studying and stressing yourself out 24/7, and with the pandemic in mind, it is natural to feel even more stressed or worried than usual. Because of that, it is  important to take care of your mental health. Doing this will have overall positive effects on your health and in turn allow you to stay productive. I found that it was easier to do work and stay on track when I was happy and relaxed.

Stay-at-home orders mean that I have not been able to go outside as often — or get as much serotonin — as I would like, but I’ve managed to find free and easy ways to have fun at home. Getting sunlight is a great way to stay happy and be outside. You can easily integrate more sunlight into your day by going for walks or eating your meals outdoors, all six feet apart from others, of course.

Exercising is another good way to raise endorphin levels and maintain good mental health. With gyms closed, it can be discouraging to try and stay fit. Many YouTubers have tried to combat this problem by creating accessible workouts that do not require any equipment and can be done in any open space.

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is also really important. Nowadays, it can be really easy to sleep in or stay up until 4 a.m. (I have been guilty of doing both). But since sleeping is the only opportunity for your brain to rest and heal itself, getting enough hours and a good night’s sleep is an integral part of taking care of your mental health. By making these slight adjustments, I noticed a general improvement in my mood and motivation. While adjusting to online classes can be difficult, hopefully these tips will come in handy.