By Katherine Wright 

Amidst a global pandemic and the need for social distancing, our sense of “normal” has become completely unhinged. Every minute passed at home feels more or less the same, and it’s becoming harder to differentiate between the days of the week. Conversations at my house frequently play out like, “When I baked cookies yesterday … or was that today? I honestly can’t remember.” 

I feel very fortunate to continue my education online as this crisis continues, and I’m extremely grateful for my health. I also appreciate the endless amount of work and sacrifice that medical professionals are devoting to the tragic situation. 

It’s a strange, extremely difficult time, and practicing self-care is crucial. If you can, spending some time outside is a helpful way to break up the sameness of these days while getting a much needed change of scenery. On the other hand, baking is a relaxing, fun activity and yoga or other forms of indoor-friendly exercise are also really helpful ways to keep your spirits up. 

With that said, the sense of “routine” that normally grounds us has become nothing but disorganized; without everday structure or real-life communication with other people, it’s hard to do productive activities.

In theory, I have never had so much time to work on hobbies or exercise or get my schoolwork done efficiently. And yet, I am constantly trying to balance work in this online setting and find it difficult to maintain a productive mindset. 

It’s way too easy to nap, watch TV or do anything else but be efficient. In moderation, naps can be healthy and television can be an entertaining way to wind down, but the normal boundaries we have for such activities are constantly blurred with a lack of structure or outside influence. Watching your favorite show, going on social media, doing homework, eating and sleeping now all melt together in a sea of random activity — sometimes occurring simultaneously. 

Routine has more or less disappeared, barely existing in a faint shadow of Zoom classes and virtual meetings. I mean, the concept of a time zone alone is a critical example of how strange and unstructured everything is now; some people now attend class at 4 a.m., some at midnight, some at the normal time. Not even our classmates are on the same schedule as we live stream together. 

But it’s okay and totally excusable that we don’t have this all figured out. However, if anyone has actually managed to wake up at 7 a.m. every morning and do yoga, concoct a Michelin star breakfast, finish their work at a reasonable hour and still be able to re-read the Harry Potter series, please let me know. You have mastered the quarantine life and the world needs to know your secret. 

Until I hear from you, you can find me procrastinating and baking a triple-decker cake at 2 a.m.