There’s no doubt about it, maintaining structure to your day when you’re home can be super challenging. It’s hard to go from sitting on your couch watching Netflix, to being in class with your teacher, to then logging off Zoom after a 6 hour school day to opening up your homework and doing another 3 hours. All of a sudden your routine becomes so unhealthy: you’re sleeping from 2 am to 8 am, you’re having lunch whilst you’re in class because you accidentally napped at 1 pm during your actual lunch break, and you don’t move from the same position on the couch all day. This does not sound like a recipe for success to me 🙅🏻♀️.
Whilst you’re doing school from home, it’s important to try and keep a routine and structure to your day. Not only will this help you stay sane, but it will also help with your motivation and productivity rates too. Not to mention, it will also do wonders for your physical health.
Let’s dive into some tips that will help you create this structure and get you through this isolation period:
1. Wake up at the same time every day
Let’s start at the very beginning of your day with an easy first tip: wake up at the same time every day, just as you would if you’re getting up to go to school. Yes, this means setting your alarm and following a very similar morning routine that you would usually follow. Maybe you set your alarm for 7 am, snooze till 7:30, get up and have a shower, have breakfast and be ready for the start of school at 8:45 am.
Having a set wake up time helps you stay out of the mindset of ‘I can sleep at 3 am because I don’t have to get up for school tomorrow’ or the classic ‘I am home tomorrow anyway, I can sleep late and just nap if I get tired’. By having a time you need to wake up, you’re more inclined to go to bed at a normal hour, which means you’ll get enough sleep and be ready for the day ahead. Nobody wants to be exhausted whilst they’re home, the temptation to sleep all day is too high.
2. Get dressed
Make getting dressed for the day part of your morning routine. I know some schools have set a rule that students have to be dressed in their school uniform for school days, even if you are learning from home. Great idea! If your school hasn’t done this, doesn’t mean you get away with staying in your pj’s all day. There are a few reasons for this:
- No one on Zoom wants to see your pyjamas,
- Mind over matter – if you feel like you’re dressed for a productive day, your mindset will change from ‘I am home all day, let’s watch Netflix and eat’ to ‘I have a lot to do today, I am ready’,
- There’s a higher chance you’ll go outside for a walk or some exercise if you’re already dressed,
- Pyjamas are for sleeping – not school.
You don’t attend school dressed in your pyjamas so don’t turn up to online school in them. It’s as simple as that!
3. Sit at a desk
The temptation to stay in bed or on the couch all day is very real, and how great would that be, being able to just do a whole day of school without moving? Sounds like a dream. But in reality – it’s your worst nightmare. Do you know how easy it is to accidentally nap whilst you’re trying to study in bed? 😴
Make sure you attend online school from a desk, and if you don’t have a desk then improvise by using your dining table, or the outdoor table. Using some sort of desk set-up is the most practical way to attend school from home. You can have your textbooks out, your laptop open, have all your stationery and everything ready to go for class. Sitting in an actual chair also helps your physical health, it allows you to keep a good posture rather than slouching in bed and ruining your back.
You also don’t want to look half asleep when your teacher asks you a question – not a good look.
4. Take your recess and lunch breaks
It’s so important that you take your breaks and take them properly. When it’s ‘recess’ stop and have a snack, get up from your desk and move around. Same goes with ‘lunch’. Stop what you’re doing and have a proper lunch break. This is a good time to eat, get outside, take a walk, sit in the sun, have a break from looking at your computer screen. It’s important to take these breaks to ensure you stay motivated and productive for the rest of the day. You also don’t want to skip lunch, realise at 2 pm you’re starving and then be eating during your maths class. You wouldn’t be allowed to do that at school so you aren’t allowed to do that at home.
5. Take an after school break
This next one is a big one. We’ve had a lot of people asking us how to create a division between school and homework when not much is really changing and you don’t have that break to travel home to clear your mind. My answer here is that nothing should change from what you would do on a normal school day. You might not have to travel anywhere besides from your desk to the TV room, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a proper afternoon break.
Close your computers and textbooks, and walk away from the school day. You can even go and get changed now that your school day is done.
Use this time to exercise, have something to eat, or even do something as mindless as watching some Netflix. There is no reason why you need to keep studying into the afternoon and not take a break just because you’re already home. When you’re ready, then you can sit down and do your homework. For more advice on how to go about your after school routine check this out.
That being said, if you’re the type of person who feels like they can continue going and are on a roll from class then by all means, continue studying. Just be sure to take your break at some point in the afternoon. It’s important for your mental health to walk away from your desk sometimes.
6. Get some physical activity in
This is crucial. Maintaining physical activity is going to be one of your highest priorities during this isolation period. Now more than ever, fitting in physical activity is going to make a huge difference not only to your physical health but to your mental health and your ability to get through the next few months.
Even though your regular school sports might be cancelled, and there are some pretty tough restrictions on outdoor activities at the moment doesn’t mean you should give up on exercising altogether, it just means you need to get a little creative with how you do it. You have your easy options like going for a walk/run outside, but there are so many other options available. There are hundreds of apps that you can follow that have at-home yoga classes, pilates, f45 workouts, strengthening workouts, HIIT training and more.
Set your computer up and follow along. You can also follow people on Instagram doing live tutorials and classes. You can do these in your home, or outside – it’s up to you. You could even Zoom a group of friends and exercise together from your own homes. My favourite option: putting some music on and dancing for an hour. Fun and effective – and seeing as you can’t attend any parties at the moment, seems like an online Houseparty is the way to go! 🕺
7. Have some ‘me’ time
Last but definitely not least, switch off for the day and have some ‘me’ time. Everyone has their own way of doing this, whether it be putting on a movie or TV show, doing a puzzle, reading a book or listening to your favourite podcast. Take some time to do this. Just because you’re home all the time now, doesn’t mean you have to use your free time to study, that’s not how this works. Take some time out!
This is new and confusing for all of us. Online school is a shock to the system for some, and it’s going to take time to adjust. Just remember, it’s important that you treat your online school days as regular school days so that you maintain some routine and structure. Not only will this help you with your school work, but it will also keep you sane and will stop you from going stir crazy.
If it makes you feel any better, I am in the same boat doing uni and work from home – so if you find yourself lacking in motivation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we are here to help!
You can find some more helpful tips on our Instagram: @get.atomi. See you there 👋