Last month we went over some pandemic habits to say goodbye to, like too much takeout and screen time. However, there are even more habits and routines we’ve changed or added that actually bring healthy, positive, and uplifting vibes to our lives. We may have turned the corner on the pandemic (and fingers crossed that it stays that way!), but some things are too good to let go of. Let’s focus on pandemic habits we should definitely keep!
Walking, walking, and more walking!
Remember in early lockdown when there was nowhere to go and everyone started walking outside? It was actually quite wonderful! Our neighborhood streets, normally quiet, became busy with people walking, saying “Hello” from a distance, and talking to others from their porches. I’d have meet-ups with friends to walk, and with the streets empty we could walk six feet apart in the middle of the road. My husband liked to pop in his AirPods, find his latest favorite podcast, and walk for miles. If COVID got you taking a walk regularly, there’s absolutely no reason to stop this awesome practice. No wonder The Guardian calls 2020 “The Year of the Walker”!
Supporting local businesses
My local community groups were big on supporting local mom-and-pop shops instead of the big retail giants—we sure didn’t want them to disappear during the pandemic. While many places unfortunately still had to shutter, many more stayed afloat and are now feeling a resurgence. Yay! Restaurants, book stores, boutiques, pet shops, food trucks, clothing and gift shops, cafés, etc.—it’s so terrific to see these businesses return to almost-normal and begin to thrive again. Let’s keep up this local support!
One of the things I found so odd (and alarming, honestly) at the beginning of the pandemic was all the imploring for people to wash hands regularly; why was this a new thing?! In any case, in the past year colds and the flu almost disappeared. With social distancing, mask-wearing, and tons of sanitizing, the basic illnesses truly diminished; this may change as the world is opening up and the COVID-safety measures start to go away. I, for one, plan to keep up the hygiene practices—lots of hand-washing and sanitizers—even post-pandemic. I love not getting sick! And as they have been doing in Asia, I will start wearing a mask when I’m feeling under the weather, to keep others from catching whatever bug I’ve got.
Connections to far-off friends and family
During the first few months of COVID, when there were stay-at-home orders, how many of you started doing Zoom calls with family and friends around the globe? We had various friend-group happy hours, family dinners, and even a graduation party, all via Zoom. Sadly, we also attended two online celebrations-of-life. I know others whose kids performed what would have been their music or dance recitals on Zoom for their grandparents. We also played oodles of online games with our loved ones. These connections kept us sane, kept us in the world, and fed our souls. Let’s continue connecting, virtually or in-person.
This became a reinstated tradition for many families during the pandemic, when seeing others outside of your household became a no-no for quite some time. Making dinner and cleaning up together, playing games, working on puzzles, movie and karaoke nights…these are wonderful memory-making, bonding, and joyful times. Even if you aren’t doing it as often anymore, keep family nights as part of your routine.
Decluttering, organizing, donating, and selling
Being at home all day, every day, brought many of us to really looking around our spaces. So many people used the opportunity to organize and clear out their stuff. Donation places such as Goodwill had to close down periodically because they were getting way too many donations. Now that many of you have decluttered and organized at home, hold on to that calm and peace of mind by making sure things don’t revert back to their former state!
During the pandemic, people were tipping generously to support food service workers and restaurants. As the country moves towards fully reopening, gratuities have actually started to decline. Restaurants are struggling to fill positions because of the pay scale, and some are still forced to shut down because they can’t make rent with only a 50% capacity. This article has an excellent explanation of how to think about post-COVID tipping. If you can swing it, keep tipping 15-25% whether you dine in or take out.
Working from home more productively
While it was a challenge in the beginning to transition working full-time from home—especially if there were two of you WFH—most people eventually found their new rhythm. They became productive, inspired, creative, and focused in their new environment, and were fine with giving up the commute and lunch with their co-workers. They found a balance between work and home life. With offices slowly opening up again, many are considering whether they’ll stay WFH, going back into the office, or doing a hybrid. Whichever work choice you make, it’s great to know that you really can WFH successfully and stay connected to your company and co-workers.
Fitness facilities all shut down during the pandemic, and we all had to figure out how to get a workout somehow. If you weren’t into walking or running outside, but instead preferred gym equipment or a class setting with an instructor, you had to either spend some money (the surge in Pelotons was wild) or find online classes. And guess what, it all worked pretty well! Yoga, Pilates, and Barre studios now offer both in-person or online classes. Many of you found a corner or a room to turn into a home workout space. Whatever it is you did, it’s awesome that fitness was a priority and you made it work somehow—you rock!
We live such busy lives that sometimes it’s easy to take things for granted. One of the things that kept me going during the pandemic was to focus on gratefulness. Realizing all the people and services we truly could not live without: healthcare workers, grocery and pharmacy staff, delivery drivers, food service workers, caregivers, childcare providers—there are so many. And of course, being thankful for good health, a warm home, employment, health insurance, and friends and family. Being grateful for something every day is a wonderful, mindful practice.
It’s been a truly remarkable 16 months and we are all so happy, relieved, and amazed at what we’ve been able to accomplish, to get through, and to figure out. None if it was easy, by any means. We hope you have been able to get the support you needed this past year, whether it’s for mental health care, decluttering and organizing your home, finding childcare solutions, or any other challenge you may have encountered.