2020 is finished and although many are ready to leave it behind, there are some things that we should carry into 2021 and beyond. While the pandemic has been a hindrance and a very difficult time for many, let’s highlight some lessons learned and habits worth recycling:
- Doubling down on self-care. During the crisis we learned that we are all connected and need to lean on each other for support and caring. However, we can’t be there for others if we aren’t taking good care of ourselves. Schedule down time, a hot bath, time to read or journal, some way to shift gears and relax. It’s not self-indulgent….by caring for you, it’s a way to care for our community.
- Create accountability. Everyone learned to be accountable to one another by wearing a mask, keeping socially distant and washing hands to avoid spreading the virus. Keep that trend up and extend it into your personal life by finding an accountability partner to help you achieve your health goals. Check in with a friend each day to talk about healthful topics or maybe even join a social media group with likeminded goals to bounce ideas around with.
- Make activity part of your daily routine. Fitness centers and schools were closed for a good part of Spring 2020 so we had to find other ways to get physical activity. Bicycles were rolling out of stores and balls and gloves were flying off the shelves. Gyms and most schools have reopened but why not continue looking for alternative ways to squeeze in activity? Explore local park trails, schedule a walking meeting at work or take your yoga mat and an app to the basement. Whatever moves you, just be sure to do something every day to help ease mental stress and keep your body limber.
- Form a health bubble. To avoid spreading the virus, we have needed to limit our circle of contacts so many have formed a social pod with a select group of friends. Sticking with this trend, form a group of friends that are interested in sharing healthy recipes, going for walks and enjoy feeling connected.
- Journaling. Remember the toilet paper and food shortages at the grocery stores in the early days of the pandemic? We didn’t know what to expect and each time we listened to or watched the news, we felt unsure and maybe even scared. Uncertainty can create havoc in our actions and in our thoughts. By journaling how we feel and what we are thinking we can find a sense of comfort through voicing and expressing those thoughts onto paper.
- Be prepared. Not knowing what each day may have in store for us, it’s a good idea to keep family members abreast of where important documents are stored in case an emergency arises. Keeping a digital copy of these documents is good but it can be as simple as a 3-ring binder that is easily grabbed when needed. Include a “where to find” list of items like banking information, insurance papers, key contacts and most importantly, your advance directive. This document designates someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable and offers specific guidance about your wishes if you should become critically ill.
Humans are tough and have proven we can accomplish amazing things and survive tough times. We learn from our experiences and make adjustments for the future. Let’s take what we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, make adjustments to our routines and plan for a healthy future.