The pandemic was a difficult time for many people, but it was also a learning opportunity. If you’ve noticed a change in lifestyle between before and after the pandemic, take this chance to consider what you’ve learned. Are there things about lockdowns you miss? Do you feel better or worse now the world has opened up again?
Here, we’ll look at eight healthy habits you can take from the pandemic and how you can make those habits a part of your normal life after the pandemic, giving you more physical and mental energy.
Keep That Pandemic Lifestyle With These Habits
1. Taking Regular Walks
Going walking was a popular form of exercise during the pandemic and replaced cycling/driving for many people. Studies show that walking for just 30 minutes a day is enough to reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke and can help with the management of diabetes and other conditions.
2. Cooking at Home
Prior to the pandemic, many people’s home-cooking/dining-out ratios were very much skewed toward stopping off at a fast-service restaurant on the way home from work. Lockdowns helped people discover a new passion for cooking. Keep that enthusiasm up and you’ll save money and be healthier.
3. Staying Connected With Friends and Family
According to a 2021 Harvard Report, 36% of Americans report feeling serious loneliness. Making an effort to reach out to your friends and family gives you (and them) a valuable support network when times are hard.
4. Drinking Less Alcohol
With bars and nightclubs closed down, many social drinkers found their alcohol consumption dropped during the pandemic. The CDC recommends men consume no more than two alcoholic drinks a day and that women consume no more than one alcoholic drink per day. Reducing alcohol consumption can reduce your risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
One thing a lot of people don’t realize is that the CDC recommendations aren’t averages. If a man drinks 10 alcoholic drinks per week but they’re spread over 2 days, this isn’t the same as having two drinks a day for 5 days. Binge drinking presents health risks that moderate drinking over a longer period of time doesn’t. So, cutting back on those big nights out, or choosing alcohol-free beverages, can be beneficial to your well-being.
5. Getting More (and Better) Sleep
Good sleep hygiene such as ensuring you have a quiet, cool room to sleep in, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evenings and following a set routine before bedtime can make it much easier to fall asleep. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night helps you feel more alert and productive the next day.
If you go to bed and find you can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed. Get up and read a book or listen to some relaxing music for a few minutes and then go back to bed when you’re feeling tired. Your goal is to build an association in your mind that “going to bed” means “going to sleep.” Over time, you should find it easier to fall asleep quickly, and you’ll have more energy when you get up.
6. Washing Your Hands
The pandemic made people a lot more aware of how important it is to wash your hands regularly — and to do it properly, too. The CDC recommends a five-step process for handwashing. Following these instructions helps ensure your hands are properly cleaned. Consider carrying hand sanitizer with you to use if soap and water aren’t available.
Some other useful practices that people followed during the pandemic include:
- Avoiding touching your face unless it’s absolutely necessary
- Covering your mouth with a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing
- Coughing or sneezing into the crook of your elbow
- Wearing a mask to protect others if you have to go out and you feel unwell
- Working from home rather than going into the office if you feel unwell
7. Spending Less Money on Frivolous Things
When the shops were shut, there were fewer opportunities for impulse buys. This helped people save a lot of money over the course of the pandemic. Now that shops have reopened, have your spending habits returned to normal? If so, think about whether the things you’re buying are really bringing you joy.
If you’re stressed about money or even about the amount of clutter in your home, consider scaling back your spending habits. Don’t buy things unless you’re sure you want them and will actually use them.
8. Keeping a Good Daily Routine
Do you often find yourself feeling stressed because you’re in a rush in the morning before work? Do you struggle to keep track of the tasks you need to get done? Do you sometimes forget things? If so, setting a regular routine might make life easier for you.
Work out how long it takes to get ready in the morning, and make sure you get up early enough to get those things done. Set a fixed bedtime so you’ll get enough sleep to ensure you’re waking up feeling fresh and energetic every morning. Practice good sleep hygiene so you’re able to fall asleep quickly when you go to bed.
Some people find using a bullet journal or an online task tracker helps them remember what they need to get done each day and is useful for feeling productive. You may find using an app on your phone useful for this too. Do whatever works best for you to build a routine that’s easy to stick to and that takes the stress out of day-to-day life.
Take Care of Yourself First
While the pandemic may be over, there are still many challenges to deal with in modern life. Remember, you can’t take care of others if you’re struggling yourself. Don’t ever feel guilty about putting your own physical and mental health first.
Are You Struggling With Life After the Pandemic?
If you’re struggling with life after the pandemic, you don’t have to try to cope alone. At Restore Mental Health, we offer a variety of support programs for people who are struggling with anxiety, PTSD, trauma, substance abuse and other issues. Contact us today to talk to one of our trained and compassionate counselors and start yourself on the path to a new, better life.