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Quarantine: Productive or Pointless?

By Sahil A. and Oliver M.

Bouncing Back From Strange Times

Quarantine has proven to have made dramatic changes in everyone's lives. Staying inside for weeks, months, and now years on end can significantly alter your routines and disrupt your daily patterns. We are naturally social beings, so being held captive inside for an extended period of time alters the way your mind works, making you either adapt or struggle. While many people thrive in this environment, just as many have fallen victim to laziness and chaos. The reason why some experience more success than others in quarantine is due to the habits and routines that we’ve fallen into. While some have created good habits and established positive routines to take advantage of their new abundance of free time, many have also procrastinated and stopped looking after themselves due to the same factors. Those who have better self-control, enjoy having more freedom in their routines and prefer a more comfortable working environment will likely be more successful than someone who needs more external motivation to get their work done.

What To Leave Behind

Stopping negative routines is fairly difficult. These routines have probably been a constant in your life for several months and that makes it tough to just leave behind. To stop a bad routine, you must overcome the short-term satisfaction from these routines. A perfect example is sleeping in. Sleeping in could be beneficial during quarantine because work and school hours are adjusted. However, after quarantine, the hours will most likely revert back to what they were before. It is important to recognize routines like sleeping in. A way to help with this recognition is to compare and contrast your life before quarantine to during quarantine. Look at all your old and new habits and find the benefits from each one. If the benefits from the new habits seem short-term and harmful in the long run, then those are the ones to leave. Another way to stop bad routines is to create a new routine that can take over an old one. This new routine will be a healthier way to accommodate the problems that the older routine took care of.

What to Keep

Moving on, holding on to positive routines is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Some people will probably revert to the old lifestyle before quarantine, rather than keeping the new and great habits they developed during quarantine. Activities such as exercising and meditation are prime examples of good habits that should be kept as we transition back to our ordinary lives. However, because returning to a more normal lifestyle means less spare time, people will most likely throw these good habits right in the trash. It takes a significant amount of time to create a new habit, while only a few days is all it takes for all that progress to come to a halt. Maintaining a good habit is far easier than creating one from scratch. The next time you feel the urge to skip the gym or sleep in, remember that months of progress are at stake.

Regaining Control

As we slowly but surely return to our normal lives, the new habits, routines, and patterns that we’ve fallen into over the course of quarantine will fade away. The question of whether quarantine has had a positive or negative effect on our productivity is not entirely one-sided. Whether we thrived or were impaired by quarantine is a direct result of the daily routines we created to adapt to our new lifestyle. Regardless of whether your productivity improved or not during quarantine, those habits that you made are going to fade away. As you begin to reconnect with old friends and go back to school or work, ask yourself if the new habits you’ve created are worth keeping or not.

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