6 Pandemic Habits I Hope To Keep
Not all change is forever, but these changes might be
While my methods are maybe a little obsessive and lean toward paranoia, I choose to take the precautions that make me feel as in control as I can be during an out-of-control pandemic. Still, when all this is over, I will not miss wearing masks any time I’m outside of my house or putting my incoming mail/purchases/groceries in a holding area for 3-7 days. I will not miss hand sanitizing repeatedly. I will not miss having to stay apart from my family and friends.
Given the new strains and vaccine rollout challenges, I personally think it will be a while before all this is “over.” And, when it is, the world may never go back to exactly the way it used to be. We might always have hand sanitizer bottles clipped to our purses and keys. But there are some habits I’ve developed during the pandemic that I hope will stay with me forever, regardless of the pandemic’s presence in my life.
6 Pandemic Habits I Hope To Keep
1. Stay connected to family. I set up a discord server for my family to share photos, links, news, memes, etc. We also use it to chat with each other while watching shows or movies together. We also Zoom every Sunday. Being able to see my parents who live nearby and my sister and brother-in-law who live several time zones away is such a treat. We were never in contact like this before, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to share and talk to them so often. It’s also great when a pet makes an appearance; I miss the pups in my family, too!
2. Wipe down all frequently-touched surfaces. I was about three months into a Sunday morning cleaning habit when the pandemic was declared. So I added to my weekly schedule the task of wiping down surfaces I touch often. This started out to be light switches, doorknobs, keys, and electronics (keyboards, mice, phones). Every so often, I notice another thing in my house that I touch often enough that I incorporate it into the routine. So now it also includes light switch plates, phone charging cable, cabinet handles, fridge/microwave/dishwasher/washer/coffee machine controls, lamp switches/pulls, faucets, stair railings, and remote controls. Because I only go out once a week (or less) cleaning these daily seems unnecessary. But cleaning them once a week is probably something I should always have been doing as part of keeping a clean house.
3. Judge people less. This has been a tough one for me to practice. There are people who take risks and make choices during this pandemic that I personally would not. But I can’t control other people’s actions. I can’t make everyone wear a mask. I can’t make choices for other people. So I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and to turn off that little voice of judgement in my head that was yelling a lot at the beginning of all of this. I feel like, in general, judging people less on all levels is a good practice for me.
4. Work out more. I upped my workout sessions from 20 minutes to 30+ minutes and do them daily now (with the exception of the times I was recovering from dental surgeries and not allowed to work out because of blood flow issues). I’ve always done a lot of kickboxing, but I increased the number of kickboxing workouts I do whenever I get stressed or anxious. Envisioning the things that are making me the most emotional and punching or kicking the heck out of them has felt so great. I definitely want to keep this pace up as long as I can.
5. Explore new creative paths. I have done a lot of fun things since the pandemic began that I never would have done otherwise. Each month I choose a country to “travel from home” to and read a book, listen to music, watch a movie, cook a meal, and have a dessert from that country. It’s been a fun way to learn a little and explore the arts each location has to offer. I learned Adobe XD software and am now addicted to creating new mockups and designs with it. I launched an adulting blog; hey, you’re reading it right now! I started participating in swap-bot again. I wrote a whole collection of quarantine short stories, and that writing experience saw me through the worst time of my life. I even did some painting on a canvas, thanks to a friend who gifted me canvases, paints, and paintbrushes for Christmas.
6. Have enough food & emergency supplies on hand. At the beginning of the pandemic, my emergency box was not well stocked, and I’d just come back from a trip out of town, so I had almost nothing in my fridge. I panic-bought supplies, shelf-stable food, and a month’s worth of normal food as well. I also got a month’s worth of medicine, a month’s worth of cat food, and a month’s worth of toiletries. Now I just buy enough on top of that to stay fully stocked and cycle through things that will expire. Knowing that I can survive for a month if we go into strict lockdown or if some other disaster strikes is a reassurance I didn’t know I needed but one that I am hoping to continue to have.