Recycle those pandemic habits to keep them alive in the new year

When the pandemic first struck, we ambitiously sought out new pandemic habits and routines. As we gave up commuting, dining out, and going to the movies, we took up yoga, bread baking, and knitting. As we approach nearly a full year of living in a pandemic world, recycling your pandemic habits, rather than finding new ones, is a great way to revamp your routine for the new year and maintain a positive outlook. Today we’re sharing strategies from the New York Times on recycling your best pandemic habits. 

  1. Self-care. You’ve likely experimented with a variety of self-care strategies during the pandemic. Now that you’ve found the ones that work, recommit to them and create a self-care routine that you’ll stick to even after the pandemic. This isn’t just about taking baths and journaling, it’s also about committing to setting goals and making time for yourself 
  2. Accountability. During the pandemic, we hold ourselves accountable for not only our own health, but the health of our friends, family, and community. Use this accountability you have for mask-wearing and social distancing and channel it into accountability for personal wellness as well. Use that same energy to hold yourself accountable to daily exercise, eating healthy, or writing that book you’ve always wanted to. 
  3. Stay active. With fewer activities on our plates, many people took up daily walking routines during the pandemic or at-home exercise classes. Don’t let this habit go. If you’re getting bored, switch up the type of exercise you’re doing or find a new route to walk around your neighborhood. 
  4. Maintain your pod. Many people formed social pods to cope with the loneliness and isolation of the pandemic. Even after we are allowed to attend gatherings, recycle this mindset of pod unity, and keep meeting with these people regularly for support and guidance. In Japanese culture, children form social networks during childhood called moais, a group of friends who offer social, logistic, emotional, and even financial support for a lifetime. Think of your pod like your moai and continue this support network. 
  5. Plan for uncertainty. The fear and unknown of a global pandemic prompted many people to take a good hard look at critical aspects of their life like financial and physical security. Use this planning to be prepared for future emergencies by compiling a binder of readily accessible important documents and think about tough medical decisions like who would take ownership of your medical decisions should you become very ill. 
  6. What do I really need and value? The pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate what is truly important to us. It turns out that maybe three pairs of pants are all you really need and time with a good friend is all the more valuable than a new car. Try to hold on to this mentality and the less-is-more phenomenon you embraced while feverishly cleaning out your closets last spring. 

“Pandemic fatigue” has been making headlines lately as one reason for continued surges of the virus. Yes, we are all fatigued, but recycling and recommitting to the healthy habits we picked up during the pandemic can help us continue to keep ourselves and others safe and even provide a blueprint for a more fulfilling life after the pandemic ends. 

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