What will you keep up now the country is opening up again?
They say it takes about a month to form a habit. By that measure, we all should have formed 13 shiny new habits by now, enriching our lives and distracting us from the dreaded Covid-19.
The pandemic this year has been, obviously, overwhelmingly negative, but perhaps you’ve found some positives to the lockdown. Whether it’s finding joy in a new hobby, investing in your health with a new exercise routine, or just taking the time for self-care, this year’s time spent indoors has afforded a lot of space for growth.
Here are five habits we’ll be keeping post-lockdown, and five we’d rather leave behind.
The habits we’re keeping
Lockdown measures around the world have inspired a fitness revolution of sorts worldwide and if you’ve caught the exercise bug, it’s definitely worth holding on to. I’m sure I don’t need to explain the many, many benefits of exercise here, but if you look set to continue working from home, it’s essential that you work some movement into your day in place of the commute.
Embracing the great outdoors
Along with the global exercise phenomenon came a new appreciation for the great outdoors, and I for one am definitely going to keep it up. We in Ireland are blessed with our scenery, nature and thousands of walking routes to keep our exercise routines exciting and our lungs full of fresh air. If you can, always try to bring your exercise routine outdoors – even if running isn’t for you, a long walk or even a sea swim are both great choices.
Before the pandemic hit, many of us were trapped in a rat race of long commutes and even longer working hours, meaning our time spent at home was too lethargic to put any real effort into our diets. Covid gave me, and I’m sure many others, the chance to invest in what I eat, and I don’t ever want to go back to ready meals (okay, maybe once a week).
Being asked the question ‘what are your hobbies?’ used to fill me with dread before lockdown, but now, I have a litany of tried-and-tested past-times to chat about, that I would never have tried was it not for all this new-found free time. Whether it’s knitting, embroidery, baking, painting, playing an instrument or learning a new language; whatever new skill lockdown has given you, make sure you keep nurturing it.
Without a doubt, the worst part of lockdown measures has been the isolation and separation from our loved ones. Not seeing my family or friends for months on end has really taken its toll, but when we do see each other, we make much more of an effort to make that time together special. From little homemade gifts, to cards with lovely messages, this year has made us all stop and take stock of what’s really important. And I won’t be reserving the warm fuzzies for my family either – I’ve definitely noticed my neighbours and even just random people on the street making more of an effort to smile, chat and check in with one another.
The habits we’re binning
Being a slave to the scales
Yes, we’re all working out more and eating healthier, and that is fantastic – but only if you are doing it for the right reasons. Adopting healthier habits should be done in the name of health – to make you feel better physically and mentally, and to invest in your long-term wellness. If you’ve found yourself falling into obsessively checking the scales and the mirror, and only focusing on how much weight you’ve lost rather than how much healthier you feel, that’s a problem. Bin the weight-loss mindset and focus on investing in yourself.
This will be a tough one, but I think it’s best to make a clean break. I have lived in tracksuit bottoms and pyjamas for 13 months, and while I am very cosy, it really hasn’t helped my mental state at all. From here on, I’ll be doing my best to reserve the loungewear for sick days and once-a-month lazy Sundays. The rest of the time, I’ll be making use of my wardrobe pieces that didn’t get the limelight they deserved in 2020.
More time spent at home, listlessly looking for something to do, has meant much more time spent doomscrolling – and that’s a problem. We all needed to spend less time on social media before the pandemic happened, and the arrival of lockdown measures meant our issue with excessive time on our phone has worsened. As hard as it may be, I’m going to make the effort to significantly reduce my screen time in 2021 – Instagram can’t be as interesting as the outside world.
If I never have to say ‘you’re on mute’ again, it’ll be too soon.