Pandemic Habits I’ll Keep

If it’s been written once it’s been written a thousand times: the pandemic has and continues to change how we live our lives, in both big and small ways (I know — super original statement). Some folks have been talking about getting “back to normal” and some maintain that life will never be the same (honestly, they’re probably both right — life has a way of being achingly normal and shockingly bizarre at the same time), but most everyone has drastically altered their everyday behavior from pre-pandemic standards. I’ve been thinking a lot about the world after the pandemic and the habits I adopted as a result, and there’s a lot I like and will probably keep doing. Let me be clear at the outset, though: 1) the pandemic is ongoing and probably will be for awhile, and 2) it isn’t my intention to make light of a serious time — I get that many of these are trivialities.

Photo by Leohoho on Unsplash
  • Wearing a mask. I like that masks have been a little more normalized. I used to feel weird about wearing one in public, but they’re great for allergies, for keeping your germs away from others if you’re sick, and even for helping me breath a bit easier during the Northwest’s awful fire season. I’ll keep my collection in regular rotation and while I may not wear them in public constantly forever, I’ll keep wearing them when they’ll help keep myself and others safe or stop my head from feeling like a bowling ball each spring.
  • Washing my produce and taking food out of boxes. This may sound a bit odd and probably isn’t for everyone, but at the beginning of the pandemic I was in full panic mode and started disinfecting my groceries. I began washing all my produce and taking items in paperboard (cereal boxes, snacks, etc.) out of the box before putting everything away. And even though it’s a bit extra, I will probably keep doing this for the foreseeable future for two reasons: produce washed immediately stays fresh waaaaay longer, and getting rid of the boxes early saves a ton of space.
  • Paying attention to my mental health. This one’s a bit more on the serious side, but the past year has been TOUGH. I’ve kept up my talk therapy via telehealth, and it’s been really helpful. This year I really learned the importance of putting my health — mental and physical — first, and I’ll continue to make extra room for self care.
  • Saying ‘no’ to events I don’t want to go to. I’m a super private introvert, so I’ll be honest: the pandemic didn’t hit my social life all that hard. If anything I see friends more now that folks are more open to Zoom happy hours and the like. But yeah, I’ve definitely been glad for the built-in excuse of the pandemic meaning I didn’t have to go to some event I wouldn’t have wanted to attend in the first place. It’s not strictly a habit of saying ‘no’ that I’m after: it’s recognizing that I can just admit I don’t really want to go somewhere and that I am allowed to value my time.

Again, I know we’re not out of the woods yet and the pandemic will probably continue to change how we live, but I think it’s interesting to think of the unexpected benefits of this brave new world. I guess I’m bright-siding it, but it’s nice to think I’ve learned something good from all of this.

Thanks for reading!

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