Our Take: Being productive can make a difference

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Senior Michael Maxwell being productive on his first day of distance learning.

COVID-19 has paralyzed everything we know. School has gone virtual, businesses are closed, the economy is crashing and we are quarantined on a stay-at-home order completed with a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. While it may feel like a time where not much can be done from our part, this is not the case. Just because life seems like it has come to a halt, you can still do something to help.

The first thing to do is to take care of school. Despite the fact that this quarter is strange, it is no excuse to slack off. Wake up at a reasonable time, eat a good breakfast, make a schedule and do not procrastinate. Regardless of the absence of a bell, making a schedule and following it can help create a sense of structure and normality.

According to Skilled at Life, having a routine makes things more efficient, it instills good habits, reduces procrastination, builds self confidence, helps reduce stress and helps us achieve our goals. Nobody is saying  you have to be sitting at your computer at 7:20 in the morning, but if you set up an 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. schedule, stick to it. 

As a result of COVID-19’s rapid spread and conflicting news and advice, most of us are isolated in our homes. And while in fact isolation imposed by quarantine frequently leaves people feeling that they have no control over the situation, according to Very Well Mind, which was medically reviewed by Dr. Steven Gans who is board-certified in psychiatry, there are still simple things we can do that will make an impact.

For starters, take care of your mental health. Unfortunately being locked in a house for too long can take a toll on mental health, even more so on those with pre-existing conditions. According to Dr. Gans, feeling isolated can lead to poor sleep, poor cardiovascular health, lower immunity, depressive symptoms and impaired executive function.

However, there are things to help cope, such as, establish a routine, be active, stay occupied, communicate with friends and family and remember why you are doing this. Mental health is important and conditions can be exacerbated by isolation, so reach out and make sure your friends are okay as well.

In addition, we should follow and model local and national guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends to social distance ourselves and to keep good hygiene. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and frequently clean touched surfaces and objects daily. We can also virtually check on our friends and family to make sure they are doing the same.

We can also be productive by using the time that we are now pouring into social media and help bring awareness. Through social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, we can further support social distancing and encourage others to do the same as it is proven to slow pandemics, according to Tidelands Health. Social Media is supposed to be a fun place, so there is no need to make it all serious. For example, take the Coronavirus song by Cardi B and make a meme out of it encouraging people to practice social distancing. 

Everyone needs to practice social distancing, even people who are not ill or at high risk for complications from coronavirus, because anyone can spread the illness – including people with mild or no symptoms.

In this time of quarantine there is no excuse to not be productive. Most of us have a lot of time now and can do things that we would not have done before and did not have the time for like reading a book of our choice, painting or getting into yoga. Whatever it may be, do not let COVID-19 put your life on pause. Establish a routine, practice social distancing, pick up a hobby and further awareness.

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