DR. WALLACE: I find I'm constantly living each day in a jumble with no set routines anymore. Since our school has closed, I don't have to get up and get dressed to go anywhere.
I also don't need to commute to school since we do everything online, but I'll admit that online learning is a really poor substitute for the learning that I experienced in a classroom with my teachers and my fellow students.
I now find that I don't wear as much makeup, I don't stick to my exercise routine and I spend a lot more time sleeping or lying in bed. It just seems there's not much to do and even less reason to get excited about doing anything socially.
I'm quite sure I'm not the only teen who feels this way. How can I feel better about this time I'm stuck at home all day? How can I be more productive and feel more like a regular, active teenager than a lazy zombie? — Stuck in My Bedroom, via email
STUCK IN MY BEDROOM: Make it a priority to set up a daily routine. Plan ahead! Take out a notebook and write yourself up a schedule. What do you think would help you to feel better and more productive, similar to how you felt about yourself in the past?
Once you have a few items written down, seek to establish and validate a new daily routine — and stick to it! Schedule times of day to do the routine things like brushing your teeth and getting dressed. Simply sitting around in sweatpants all day will not lead you to become more active. Instead, seek to replicate your former routine as much as possible — even though you won't be commuting to your school in person.
Another idea that has helped many people during these times of COVID-19 has been actively focusing on a home-based exercise plan. Many teens might find it well worth considering how to set up a workout routine at home. Since many gyms are closed, try some light weightlifting; modestly heavy items around the house can also be used. Perhaps set a regular place and time to do these workouts. A basement or a garage often works well. Use the internet for at-home workout tips, as many good home exercise ideas have sprung up since this pandemic began.
Remember to include some aerobic exercise as well. A brisk walk around your neighborhood or a hike on a nearby trail can provide fresh air and a light workout at the same time.
Finally, focus on a healthy diet. Take some time to read up on nutrition, and seek to add at least one healthy source of nutrition to your diet while at the same time making a commitment to cut out at least one unhealthy element from your current diet.
Do all of these things and I trust your "zombie" days will soon be over
I WORK HARD
DR. WALLACE: I'm only 17, so I don't have much experience in the workforce. But from my own little experience, working harder doesn't mean you'll get the proper recognition or compensation for it. I take pride in my work and I give it my all when I'm on the clock at my current job.
However, I often see my co-workers continue to slack off and not do their jobs regularly and diligently. I never say anything about this to anyone, and the managers who supervise us really don't seem to notice either way. The curious thing is that nothing bad seems to happen to my co-workers at all. They do the minimum and get their full pay, even though I work hard and get exactly the same compensation that they do. So, my question is: Why should I be trying so hard to do well at my job? — Hard Worker, via email
HARD WORKER: Success at a job is often gauged by how you feel about the work you do, not the actual results of comparing yourself with others who work at the same company. Sadly, many companies have employees who don't want to work hard or be productive. They merely try to pass the time until their shift ends, very much like a poor student who does not pay attention at the back of a classroom longs to hear the dismissal bell ring.
I commend you for working hard and for taking pride in doing a good job. Trust me, this trait will serve you quite well over your lifetime as you work various jobs that will eventually culminate in a successful career path for you.
In general, it's best to work for a boss who takes an interest in the job his or her subordinates do. Check to see if another position within your same company may be available. You might then come across a good boss who will notice, recognize and appreciate your hard work.
If this does not happen or is not possible at your current employer, don't worry. Keep up your personal drive, and trust that you will be rewarded at your future jobs as you grow older. I'm here to tell you that your work ethic and great attitude toward your work will be very important in your future. Keep up the good work, and don't be discouraged.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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