Healthy habits that we got during the pandemic and we should keep

Published 2021-01-21 12:05:51
Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels

While trying to adapt to the new normal imposed by the Covid pandemic, people came up with different ways of coping with isolation and health threats. The number one priority of 2020 was to stay healthy.

2020 has been for sure one of the craziest year of our lifetime. The Covid19 pandemic has changed the way we live, forcing us to adapt to a new lifestyle. This proved to be a challenge for everyone, especially for those who were forced to stay indoors. No more school, no more going out with friends, no more concerts, plays, movies, and in many cases no more going to the office (which was not the most difficult thing to manage probably). At first many saw it as a blessing, the long awaited holiday was being forced upon us and we were happy to take the time and finally get some rest. Many companies around the world switched to remote working, education moved online, entertainment followed, and everyone's life was slowly gravitating around the laptop, tablet and mobile phone. But very soon it became obvious that we are indeed social animals, and we need physical interaction in order to feel good.

Pandemic revelations

We need to stay in shape

With the gyms closed, and nothing to do but check the fridge every 20 minutes, people started to gain weight. So it only came natural for everyone to feel the need to exercise. Many of those who wanted to keep fit in self-isolation, started to exercise with online classes or by making a workout schedule depending on the degree of complexity they wanted. A few weights, a rope and a fitness bike can work wonders, but even for those who didn't have this kind of equipment there were always squats, push-ups, or the famous plank. Some people also tried Pilates and Yoga sessions, watching videos on the Internet, or doing live sessions, as most of the instructors started to give online classes.

Our food is our medicine

If before self-isolation, nobody had time to eat breakfast at home or try new recipes after a hard day's work, the lockdown was the perfect time for all those things. We all enjoyed breakfast in bed, coffee on the balcony and healthy new recipes. Since restaurants were closed, and takeaway food didn't always seem like a good idea, there was no better time to test our culinary talents. Keeping in mind that eating healthy keeps you away from getting sick, many people started buying organic products and whole foods.

The brain is a muscle and it should be trained

Another healthy habit people started to develop in this period is reading. If time did not allow us to finish our favourite novel before self-isolation, now was the perfect time to take that book, sit in a comfortable armchair and read it. Others took brain quizzes or played board games with their families. Parents who had their children at home all day, found it challenging but fun (er, sometime!) to help with the homework, or with different creative school projects. This kind of actions proved to be relaxing (maybe not always the school homework though!) and were able to take their minds away from negative thoughts and TV news. Meditation was also a helpful tool to fight away negativity, and many people got the habit of practicing it every day.

Nature is a healer

Because isolation isn't good for anyone (except for electrical wires), we took every opportunity to get out of the house this last year. Even if it was just a walk around the yard, a few steps around the block or a walk to the nearest park, people felt more than ever the need to be outdoors and breathe some fresh air. Those who were lucky to have a forest in their proximity, probably enjoyed their hikes much more during this period, than previously, when they could have done it any time. What's certain is that we have learned to appreciate every minute spent in nature, and the beneficial effects it has on our health.

One has to disconnect in order to reconnect

Scrolling the phone all day long, reading all the news about the virus, soon became a toxic activity. Although it was essential to stay informed, we became aware that we needed to reduce the time spent online. Some people took a break from the laptops, TV news or even their smartphones. Instead, Netflix became very popular, and people even turned to reading, an activity which seemed to be almost extinct.

The best gift you can give is your time

And it was the best time to keep in touch with family and loved ones that are living overseas or just in different cities. Video calls became a daily routine. It was also a great opportunity for people to get in touch with old friends or just people they weren't in touch with for a long time. The pandemic kept us apart, but the internet brought us closer, and it felt good to be connected with people from all over the world. For the ones stuck at home with their children, it was an opportunity to finally spend enough time together, playing, learning from each other and just enjoying being together.

Health habits to keep after the pandemic

All of these revelations created habits that kept us going in this difficult time, which everyone is hoping will be over soon. And since they became habits, we should definitely keep doing them after the pandemic. On top of this, people became more aware of the environment and are more likely to have an eco-friendly attitude in the future.

European Societies published an article about the bright side of the crisis. Most of them are related to health, but also with the environment and the improvement of the quality of life. Here are some of their results:

  1. Individual revaluation (the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink one's life priorities; appreciate the freedom; a new perspective on work, career, social relations, lifestyle).
  2. Slowing down the pace of life (less rush; more free time; possibility to engage in self-fulfilling activities).
  3. New skills and knowledge (cooking, sewing, remote work software, hygiene awareness).
  4. Promising habits (optimisation of paid work; not wasting food, thoughtful shopping, a new division of household chores; new rules of collective hygiene).
  5. More quality time for relatives (closer relationships with relatives; a chance to develop valued or loosen unwanted relations).
  6. Other personal benefits (catching up: at work, study, home; no need to do what one does not like: getting up early, going to the gym, meeting people one does not want to; instrumental benefits: cheaper fuel, more available access to parking spaces, no queues).
  7. Strengthening social capital (greater kindness and empathy; gestures of solidarity; becoming aware of mutual dependence).
  8. A chance for systemic change (emphasising the weakness of the contemporary state and government, global institutions, or the capitalist system; drawing attention to previously underrated professions and dimensions of local communities; better imagination of alternative paths of development).
  9. Environmental benefits (restoring biodiversity; improving water and air quality; less noise pollution; slowing down resource consumption).

After all, there is a balance between the negative and the positive effects of the pandemic. Of course we can never compensate the human lives that we have lost to this virus, but we can learn to be healthier and thus safer in case of future threats like this. As long as we have learned something, it hasn't all been in vain.

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Author: Oana Tamas
I am passionate about life. Nature, people, art and everything that is making its magic on this beautiful planet, is worth our attention. I believe that communication is the key of life and wellbeing.

For other discussions, advice, question, point of view, get together, etc...: please use the forum.

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