A Guide to a Healthy Quarantine Routine for Students

by | Apr 10, 2020

At Home Quarantine Schedule (High School or College) 

Routines are essential for mental health at this time.

The first step towards taking control over your mental health during the time of COVID-
19 is by shifting your mindset to focus on things you can control. What I recommend to
clients is adding structure or an outline to your day and it is best to keep it as consistent
as possible. I think the day runs much smoother when you are not leaving your
decisions up to impulse. If you can stay in a routine then you are more likely to get
better sleep, eat more nutritious meals, move more throughout the day (because it is
scheduled in), improve your mental health, cope with change better, and reduce stress
levels. It makes your world more predictable even when the external world is uncertain
and that’s all you can control.

Use this time as an opportunity to build healthier habits

Think of this time as a good opportunity to start implementing healthy habits into your life. It is important to focus on WHY you want to implement this daily routine, or else it is unlikely you will stick to it. Your WHY could be that you want to create structure or decrease stress levels if you are feeling extra anxious. Habits will keep you from falling into bad, unproductive, and lazy patterns as well. Routines don’t have to be mundane, make sure to schedule things you enjoy periodically throughout the day. You will have extra time for these things you enjoy if you are being productive during your most productive hours and sticking to a schedule instead of wondering where the day went and feeling unhappy with your productivity levels. (Disclaimer: You absolutely SHOULDN’T feel the need to be unreasonably productive right now, this is more for your mental health benefit.)

Example Schedule

This picture would be an excellent phone saver, to keep you on track and remember what you want your daily goals and habits to be. Here is a template for college or high school students who are trying to make a routine during this unprecedented time. 

Helpful Tips for the Student During Quarantine

1. Wake up and go to bed at the same time as you do during school. Try to have the same morning routine you had during school- even if it is later in the day. If you sleep in too late, you will already feel behind in the day and frantic. It is much better to have a slow morning to focus on setting your mind right for the day.

2. Get ready every day & maintain good hygiene. Don’t let your appearance slip even though you have nowhere to go. You should practice looking nice for yourself as a form of self-care. It will boost productivity and self-esteem and just make you feel so much better on a daily basis. 

3. Don’t give up on your school work, there is limited time left in the semester. Use this time to focus on school and get your grades up now that you have more time but at the same time don’t beat yourself up if you are doing worse, because things are very different and there are a lot of external factors that could be influencing your productivity levels right now.

4. Designated spot for all of your school stuff and you ONLY sit there. Ex: If you want to be on your phone go to a different place so you don’t associate that place with distractions

5. Set aside 30 minutes to reply to emails and enter due dates into calendar. Batching your tasks helps you stay a lot more focused

6. Don’t do high dopamine releasing activities before doing your school work. This is one of my biggest productivity hacks- this means if you go on your phone, watch tv or YouTube, it will be so much harder to start you work than if you do your work right away and use those activities just for a reward at the end of the day.

7. Seek outside help. There are so many amazing online resources at your disposal. You have the opportunity to do really well in your classes still so use this time to catch up if you were behind before COVID-19. There are so many incredible videos online on YouTube such as khan academy. https://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy

8. Time management is essential. Try to stick to a normal schedule and do stuff when you typically would so you don’t get behind. And try to only focus on school work during the week. Also setting timers during the day (ex: 4 hours) will help you stay focused then give yourself a break as a reward.

9. Schedule out when assignments are due, you aren’t getting reminded in person. Google calendar is a great way to do this because it notifies you to ensure you won’t forget an assignment or due date!

10. Set meal times. It is really important to use meals to structure your day. I suggest doing three meals and two snacks at set times every single day. Don’t get so distracted working that you forget to eat, you will end up eating much more at the end of the day which will further mess up your natural rhythms. I have specific meal plans on my website if you are interested in what a dietitian recommends for balanced meals. https://nutritionandtherapy.com/a-balanced-plate/

11. Make an effort get out of the house at some point. You can walk, bike, go on a run, or even just sit outside. You definitely won’t focus as well if you are sitting in the house all day, our bodies need movement and sunlight.

12. Designate time to talk to your friends virtually. Human interaction is SO important for being happy and healthy. Just because we are isolated doesn’t mean we need to skip out on the health benefits that our friends give us. Be creative in how you implement seeing friends or talking to friends during the day. There are so many amazing apps that allow you to spend time with your friends either talking or there’s even a lot of games you can play remotely with your friends! I recommend adding to your to-do list to talk to at least two people every day. This will automatically make you feel more normal and less isolated!

13. Add Self-care into your day so your stress levels don’t get too high (preferably at night right before bed to wind down)—daily walks, cooking nice meals for yourself, yoga, stretching, calling a friend, meditating, journaling, doing a facemask. I wrote a blog post that includes more tips here! https://nutritionandtherapy.com/make-every-day-a-self-care-day/


Do you think you need extra help?

My best tip is to keep your routine as similar as to what it was when you started school to improve mental health during this stressful time. If you think you need extra help doing this or just coping and managing during this time I offer virtual counseling! Now is the perfect time to work on your mental health goals that you set aside during the busy school year. 

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