With the vaccine rollout and the world opening back up, let’s take a moment to remember lessons learned and consider what we want our new “normal” to be. We all have an opportunity to create a new beginning.
It was a very challenging year, yet there are definitely some new ways of living that are worth clinging to. I hope you also found some silver linings and started some new habits you want to maintain.
Some new insights I found have the potential to be absolutely life-changing. Here are my top five new habits that I am fully committed to continuing:
Taking Time to Prepare Healthy Meals at Home
I am not a great cook, but it’s quite easy to bake sweet potatoes and fish, steam vegetables, and make omelets. I wish I would have kept track of all the money and calories I saved by eating at home. Plus, my body feels healthier eating normal serving sizes and controlling the salt and oil I consume.
Lunch out with friends and celebration dinners are things I look forward to doing again. However, I expect to be eating out less and making much healthier choices when I do.
Continuous Connection with Friends and Family
Quarantine made staying connected more challenging and yet I found I did it more. I texted and talked to my friends and family often just to check-in. Prior there was usually a specific reason or holiday involved.
Cheers to Zoom happy hours which truly got me through those early months. I even organized one with my college roommates I hadn’t seen in decades who are spread all over the world. Zoom fatigue is real, but let’s not forget the magic of Facetiming in people who can’t travel to gatherings. Zoom happy hours are here to stay.
I always prided myself on prioritizing relationships, but this year set a new high bar I want to maintain.
The Joy of Talking and Networking with Strangers
Despite being a master networker, this one was new for me and came from Yale’s Science of Wellbeing Coursera course. Turns out that one of the top things that bring us happiness in life is a connection with people we don’t know. I used to acknowledge with a wave or nod but never speak to people on my walks or while at the grocery store. Now I go out of my way to engage in a pleasant exchange.
Creating connection with strangers proved so life-enhancing, I signed up for this great networking service called Lunch Club that pairs you with other professionals with similar interests. Yale was right. Meeting strangers is cool and has increased my overall happiness level significantly.
Long Leisurely Walks with No Real Agenda
BC (Before Covid,) my dogs always got their walks. But I have to admit it was pretty rushed. I swore under my breath while pulling them along and checking my phone. I was walking them mostly to tick the box I did.
Now, it’s a very pleasant part of the day for all of us. We try new routes and take time to look around at the gardens and listen to the birds. I even allow ample time for smelling.
These long walks are not only good for my body and mind, they are also great for my productivity. I gain clarity on priorities. Solutions to problems pop into my mind like magic. Very long and fully guilt-free walks are here to stay and a major priority in my new healthier creative life.
Prioritizing Pure Unplugged Unproductive Playtime
I am very good at going out to play, but staying in – whoa, that proved to be a major challenge. I often felt stir crazy and I couldn’t focus. This made me worry I wasn’t getting enough accomplished, so I was working even more. It was a vicious circle with working from home creating real boundary challenges.
If you are a type-A productivity fanatic like me, it can be hard to allow for activities that are just pure fun. Well, I forced myself and now I am so glad I did.
I sleep so much better now that I feel more balanced. I discovered the pure joy of just sitting around the dining room table laughing with my family. Many played board games and did puzzles, but we just mostly talked; about nothing and everything.
Also, I rediscovered the indulgent pleasure of escapism TV. I got pretty hormonal during Outlander and laughed my butt off during Schitt’s Creek. Every now and again, I even sat on the porch and just watched the squirrels play while doing absolutely nothing. What a luxury, just to get lost in your own stillness.
I sure hope that like me you are clinging to some silver lining discoveries this past year. There were lots of valuable life lessons in being forced to slow down. I absolutely do not want to go back to the hyper-productivity junky I was before.
Covid created life-changing habits for me. This terrible virus became a powerful reminder about how fragile life can be, the importance of our health, and the wellbeing of those we love. Let’s commit to taking care of ourselves and each other like never before.
Let’s also not lose appreciation for the simple and natural things we often take for granted like just talking and walking outside in nature.
We were just given the gift of discovering the life part of work-life balance. Let’s not waste it.
Please comment and share your big discoveries so we can all go forward stronger, wiser, healthier, and happier.
Wishing you a beautiful reentry as you create the life you really want to live.