Pandemic Habits We Should Not Break

17 November 2021
Pandemic Habits We Should Not Break

Although it’s probably too early to call the COVID-19 pandemic (or our cultural relationship with the illness) over, we seem to be moving past the bleakest days of hypervigilance and self-isolation. But, as the “new normal” continues to take shape, there are some pandemic habits that we should not abandon or otherwise allow to be rolled back. Some, like frequent handwashing, are obvious; others are more mentality-based than task-oriented. In both cases, though, we gain too much to drop the behaviors altogether.

Task-Oriented Habits to Keep

This group of habits are, as the name suggests, focused on tasks that we ought to keep incorporated into our routines. Washing our hands and disinfecting appropriate hard and soft surfaces regularly are prime examples of what we’re talking about in this case. Both are catchall efforts that protect us against a host of harmful viral and bacterial microbes, not just SARS-CoV-2. Now that flu season is in full swing, we all stand to benefit—individually and collectively—from continued personal fastidiousness.

The exercise routines that many of us developed during the pandemic should also be continued. This one may seem obvious, but the renewed focus on physical health that we’ve seen over the last year-and-a-half has been good for the minds and bodies of Americans. More importantly, it’s a major step to reversing decades of declining health metrics for our population.

Mentality-Based Habits to Keep

Some of the pandemic-induced habits that we’ve developed are less about specific behaviors and more about the ways that we approach various situations. For example, many of us have placed a greater emphasis on self-care and improving/preserving mental health; we have adapted to saying “no” to extra work or family obligations and saying “yes” to doing the things that make us happier. That mentality should be preserved—even expanded—moving forward, because happier people are more productive and capable than their unsatisfied counterparts.

Lockdown orders also led a great many people to declutter their living spaces, and that habit should also be continued after the pandemic is well and truly over. Holding on to an excessive number of things is detrimental to mental health, but it also invites very real dangers to physical health into our homes—cluttered basements or storage areas make ideal safe havens for bugs and other pests, some of which can carry microbes (or even smaller invaders like fleas) from the outside to the interior.

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