Why Having a Routine Helps Students Thrive in Distance Learning

The benefits of having a daily routine are well-documented. Routines help people manage their stress, develop better sleeping and health habits, and budget their time better. 

However, with the onslaught of societal changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, people everywhere are now dealing with “a sense of discombobulation” as their daily routines are interrupted. And even though students are heading “back to school” in various different hybrid learning formats, they still have to deal with significant disruptions to their normal, school-year routines. 

How Students Are Feeling

Hybrid learning, online learning, and learning pods have all become popular distance learning options this school year, each coming with their own set of pros and cons. Still, no matter the form of education, students still have to deal with the change-up to their regular routines, and many have had to deal with the fallout.

Distance learning (with the exception of learning pods) usually lacks the structure of a normal school day for students. Without this framework, several students have reported feeling unmotivated, lethargic, and stressed. Teachers have also reported lower engagement in their classes, with fewer discussions and more problems with attendance.

How Can a Routine Help?

Routines can help students find a sense of normalcy in this otherwise chaotic time. By establishing a routine, students can promote better mental and physical health for themselves, which in turn will help them develop better study habits during distance learning. 

So what should a routine look like for students?

  • Waking up at the same time every day. Routines are created to provide consistency for people day-to-day. Waking up at the same time every day will help days feel more uniform, and establish a consistent timetable for students to plan around.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast. It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that title isn’t undeserved. Eating breakfast helps concentration and problem-solving skills, provides people with more energy, and improves memory patterns. Eating breakfast will equip students with the skills and energy they’ll need to tackle their schoolwork.
  • Going on a short walk. Light exercise is proven to be effective for improving both mental and physical benefits. Going on walks has been shown to improve fitness, cardiac health, and reduce risk for chronic illnesses and cancer; it can also alleviate symptoms of depression, fatigue, and anxiety, and even promote creative thinking. Short walks will help prevent burnout for students, and help them feel rejuvenated between school and homework time.
  • Sitting at a quiet workspace. While lying in bed might be tempting during remote learning, mixing workspaces with areas traditionally meant for leisure isn’t good for focus. Using a dedicated, quiet workspace for school work will help students maintain concentration and productivity while working on homework. 


Students can tweak or adjust their routines according to their individual needs, but these are tips that should be helpful for most people.

The most important thing about having a routine, though, is simply the act of having one. Managing time well and feeling secure in work/life balance is key for a person’s health, especially in the midst of this pandemic.