This undated photo provided by Bence Viola of the University of Toronto in August 2018 shows the valley above a cave where Denisovan fossils were found in the Altai Krai area of Russia. On Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, scientists reported in the journal Nature that they have found the remains of an ancient female whose mother was a Neanderthal and whose father belonged to another extinct group of human relatives known as Denisovans. (Bence Viola/Department of Anthropology – University of Toronto/Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology via AP)
What will life post-COVID 19 look like? No question, it will be different. Even with some hopeful signs that we might just be cresting the curve/seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, very few people (or businesses) will emerge from this pandemic-induced hibernation unchanged by it.
While there are undeniable negatives we’ve faced (and will face), I’m trying to retain an ounce of optimism and look for the silver lining(s) in the corona-clouds. There are habits and practices I’ve picked up since all this began that, it occurs to me, I might should keep even when we’ve passed the acute stage of pandemia.
Here are the top five that come to mind:
- Longer/more thorough handwashing. To be clear, I washed my hands in the pre-COVID days, too, but rarely so intentionally and thoroughly as serious virus-fighting requires. Nor as frequently. Now, the 20-second lather/scrub/rinse has become almost second-nature. And I fail to see a downside in sticking with it. Other than I’ll be using more soap — and lotion. (Gotta moisturize those hands, particularly with the frequent sudsing!)
- Wishing others well in written correspondence. Again, it’s not like I never did this in the “olden days” (pre-March 2020), but I find myself opening with it in almost every e-mail I send these days. (Not sending much snail-mail anymore but would follow this practice there, as well.) Maybe, once we’re done with this crud, I’ll feel less compelled to do so, but it’s a nice touch. Why not?
- First five. I wrote about this last week. It’s a suggestion from my pastor as to how to start out each day: “Taking the first five(ish) minutes of the day — before picking up the phone, or turning on the radio, or anything else — to do three things: 1) thank God — think of (or even voice) something for which you are thankful — big or small, doesn’t matter, just give thanks; 2) pray — verbalize your asks for that day; talk to God about what’s on your heart; 3) scripture — take a moment to read (and contemplate) a verse or two. It’s not much — just a couple/few minutes of being intentional and redirecting your focus to God.” I’ve been doing this most mornings and find it both soothing and centering. I see no reason not to continue on with it.
- Shopping with intention. Ah, the carefree days of popping in to Target or the grocery store on a whim. I do kind of miss them. Shopping was largely about convenience. And I could go at 6:00 am or 10:00 pm if I needed (or wanted) to. Now, each trip to the store looms large. It’s all about plotting out the right time and making a thorough list so as to cut down on the frequency of trips. And I’ve learned not to wait until I’m out of an “essential” (be it toilet paper or cleaning supplies) to get it — because there’s no guarantee it will be readily available. (Man, did we take this for granted.)
- Daily walks. Since one of the few truly permissible activities throughout all this craziness has been getting outside for some fresh air and exercise, and since I’ve been primarily working from home, I’ve taken to going for walks in the mid-late afternoon. (Thank God, the weather has been cooperating!) My distance has varied between a mile-and-a-half and two-and-a-half miles. And, while some of my normal route is scenic, much of it is through a quasi-industrial area and along the outer road of the Interstate. Still, it’s been good — for my lungs, my legs, and my mental health. (And my Fitbit challenges.) I think I’ll keep it.
None of these carry much in the way of financial cost — or even a large time investment. Yet, they’re all ways to keep myself healthier and happier. So, in an odd way, I’m thankful for the pause and re-set the past six weeks have forced.
Would love to hear what habits others have picked up and plan to hold onto. Be sure to share yours in the comments!