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10 things we will continue to do after COVID

A father and his toddler wash vegetables in the sink and prepare a meal at home.

Just because most of us are finally returning to a normal routine doesn̵

7;t mean we should ditch everything that’s what we did during those COVID lockdowns. Here are 10 habits that might be good to stick with long after the pandemic is over.

With the constant changes in 2020, many of us have adopted new habits to protect our physical and mental health, and generally keep ourselves (and everyone else) safe. Now that the world is opening up again and we are letting go of some of the stricter practices, there are a few things that would be a good idea to keep doing.

From the simpler activities, like walking more, to just being more mindful of stress, here are the 10 habits we adopted during the pandemic and plan to continue doing it!

cooking at home

From the early pandemic days when everyone was baking bread to the lack of dining options for several months, many of us made and ate more meals at home than ever before. While it’s great to have takeout and even the ability to dine in person again as the world returns to normal, we shouldn’t give up on the benefits of home cooking!

While cooking your own meals can be more time consuming, it also has many benefits that we should not overlook. Making your own food can give you more control over what goes into it, tailoring it to your taste and nutritional needs, and making sure you know what’s gone into each step. Plus, cooking can be a lot of fun and even relaxing, whether it’s a family activity or something you do to relax on your own.

Make more time for hobbies

A woman making a beaded necklace.
simona pilolla 2/Shutterstock

Picked up a new hobby (or two, or three) during the pandemic? Don’t let it pass, because life is getting back to normal! It’s easy to feel like every moment of the day should be “productive,” but it’s just as important to make time for things that just make you happy.

Whatever interests you’ve picked up or started over, make sure you take a little time each day to keep doing them.

Practice between tasks

When the pandemic closed gyms and fitness classes, most of us turned to some form of home exercise. While those personal options are available again, working out at home can be a more flexible and less intimidating option for many of us!

You don’t have to rework your entire schedule to fit into an hour-long workout — instead, take 10 minutes here or there to get up and go for a walk, do a quick cardio workout on YouTube, or do some yoga. make it flow.

Achieve more with friends

A woman holding a glass of wine while chatting with friends during a Zoom Call.
Girts Ragelis/Shutterstock

With face-to-face meetings off the table for several months, the barriers to connecting with people who might not be in your immediate geographic area were lowered. Zoom and phone calls will still be around after the pandemic is over, so keep taking advantage of it.

Schedule catch-up calls with your friends, whether they live down the street or across the country. If there’s one thing the past year has proven it’s that distance doesn’t have to be the deciding factor in friendship and you can apply your newfound distance friendship skills to your future friendships!

Personal care routines

Don’t neglect the personal care routines you may have picked up over the past year – in fact, as we return to “normal” busy lives, it’s even more important to make time for a little pampering! It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive, fancy spa day — it could be something as simple as taking five minutes for a skincare routine instead of just splashing on water and calling it good.

Self-care gets a bit of a reputation for being overly fancy or “dumb” stuff, but in reality it’s about the simple things that help you feel good, whatever that means to you. Treat your body right and go above and beyond the bare minimum, and you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make, both physically and mentally!

Give yourself a break

A woman looks out the window while holding a mug.
BAZA Production/Shutterstock

There has been a real push during the pandemic to be a little bit nicer to everyone, including ourselves. So give yourself a little more grace when it comes to expectations and stress in life. This is one of the most important things we should all take with us into the new normal.

You don’t have to push yourself to a breaking point – take a break whenever you need one. Take the time to acknowledge what works and what doesn’t, and give yourself the same attention and understanding you’ve shown others.

Go for a walk

One of the easiest ways to boost your mental and physical health is to take a walk. Walk through a park, through your neighborhood or wherever you want and where you feel safe. It gets you moving, gives you a chance to breathe some fresh air and lets you get away from the stresses of everyday life for a few minutes.

It gives you a chance to regroup and focus on yourself. Neighborhood walks became a popular way to get out of the house safely even at the height of the pandemic, but it’s an easy and beneficial habit to keep doing even during normal times.

Keeping houseplants

A woman watering a houseplant.

Many people have grown plant older in the past year! Whether you’ve dipped your toe in a plant or two or just turned your living space into a greenhouse, keeping houseplants is a habit that can make your life more enjoyable anytime.

Plants are not only a great way to add some personality and style to your space, but they can also improve your emotional state by reducing stress. Caring for plants can be relaxing and rewarding, and it’s definitely something to keep track of.

Are you afraid you don’t have a green thumb? Get started with these easy-care plants.

Relaxation Techniques

We’ve all spent the past year incredibly stressed and tense, which for many people has meant looking for techniques to reduce or at least manage that anxiety. In terms of both physical and mental health, maintaining those stress-relieving habits is one of the most important things you can do in the long run.

Different relaxation techniques work well for different people, so the important thing is to find the approach that works for you. Some people prefer mindfulness exercises or meditation, while others find that repetitive activities (such as knitting) work best for them. Try different techniques until you find what works best for you!

Define borders

A man reading on a couch with a cat on his chest.
Magui RF/Shutterstock

If nothing else, the past year has taught us all a lot about our priorities. We’ve all had to get good at reschedule or flat out turning things down over the past year. It is helpful to remember that it is healthy to have and maintain boundaries in our lives. Stay with them even if you no longer have the pandemic excuse.

If a schedule that wasn’t constantly filled with appointments and obligations made you feel much more relaxed, keep it up. Prioritize your own well-being and only schedule things you want to do.

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