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What Pandemic Routines Do You Want to Keep?

As your life gets back to normal, how to hang on to good habits you may have formed over the past year.

Pandemic routines
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a universal tragedy, full stop. No talk of “silver linings” can change the terrible losses this past year has wrought. 

Yet, for some of us, along with the uncertainty, disruption and anxiety have been positive lifestyle changes. With more time at home, some of us looked around and finally tackled a redecorating project, cleared clutter or created a cozy corner for meditation, reading and reflection. 

With the need to plan ahead for grocery supplies, some of us flexed new culinary muscles. We learned to make new meals from pantry staples or dug deep into delicious experiments like baking weekly bread. 

With work schedules both more flexible and less dependent on commute times, some of us grabbed more sleep or incorporated morning (or mid-day) workouts into our routines.

The current moment—as we step back into social gatherings, in-person office work and other markers of “normal” routines—is both exciting and overwhelming. 

One thing we can do to navigate this transition with authentic positivity is to acknowledge both aspects of what’s often called “the pandemic thaw.” Another is to take steps to preserve the good habits you want to bring to your post-pandemic lifestyle.

Name What You’d Like to Claim
Get specific about what you want to hold onto as you emerge from the pandemic. A nutrition change you’ve made? Fitness? Sleep hygiene? A hobby? The more explicit you are about what you enjoyed about your new habits, the more likely you will find ways to maintain them.

Be Soft with Yourself
If you are suddenly returning to an hour-long morning commute, you might feel pressed for time as you try to get out the door. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get a workout in, help family members get ready for their days and prep a beautiful breakfast for everyone. Choose one thing to focus on at first, knowing you can expand your repertoire as you reacclimatize to your new normal.

Check in with Yourself
Getting started in your new routine is a heady time, not so different from New Year’s Resolution season. The plans and possibilities are abundant but so is the worry that you won’t get everything done the way you hope. Let a few weeks go by to give yourself space to assess whether you’ve taken on too much, are ready for more or have hit the mark. 

Remember: “No” Is an Option
“No” is a complete sentence, and it’s one you might need to deploy as your routine changes and your calendar fills. If you are feeling overwhelmed by social, professional or other obligations, remember you don’t need to explain yourself for demurring an invitation or declining to take on a new project. Step back into your post-pandemic life at your own pace. After a year of so much loss of control, taking ownership of your schedule can help you feel empowered and positive about what comes next.

What good habits are you hoping to preserve as your routine changes post-pandemic?

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