Ever since the world entered lockdown earlier this year, we have been inspired by the positive habits people have developed to help cope with and overcome the isolation. From home exercises to volunteering, there’s no shortage of creative routines even at home.
But why stop there? We’ll explore the many habits that you can continue to hone even after lockdown.
For many around the world, the lockdown was an opportunity to break from the usual grind of work, a reminder to enjoy the small things around us every day. Slowing down, even just a fraction, can open our eyes to the beauty of the present moment.
Try limiting your activities and projects. Reduce your screen time before going to bed and after waking up. Instead of trying to stay busy, simply focus on “being.” That may translate into spending more time with family, checking in with friends, or taking more breaks away from the news and social media.
Eating a complete meal three times a day is one of the most important things you can do every day. Yet even now, it’s common for someone to skip breakfast or lunch just to get through their work. Instead of eating out or fasting, plan out your meals one week ahead.
Go to the grocery store with a list of essentials: fruit, vegetables, meat or fish (or your preferred alternative if you’re vegetarian), grains, and other condiments or spices. On Sunday, cook big batches that you can portion out for each day: rice, pasta, soup, oatmeal, or anything else that comes to mind. Not only will you save yourself a lot of time, but you’ll also save money! There’s no reason not to take meal planning seriously.
Lockdown also served to remind us of our connections with the people we love. Whether it’s our immediate family, old friends, and colleagues, or our neighbors we seldom talk to, there’s always someone we can be grateful for, and always a way to show it.
Call someone you care about, or if they may appreciate it, write them a card or letter. Send them a small gift or gesture of appreciation. Especially in these uncertain times, a simple message of gratitude can go a long way.
Habits involving others
Organize more impromptu calls
When was the last time you called someone spontaneously, just for fun? We are so used to scheduling calls a few days or weeks before, that we forget we can call anyone at any time. Although some planning ahead of time can be greatly appreciated, so too can a spur of the moment phone call from someone you care about.
Instead of finding the right time to call your family or friends, just call them out of the blue! You may get a few missed calls, but you’re bound to talk to one person who appreciates the act of spontaneity. Don’t let a calendar hold you back— just reach out to your loved ones when the feeling strikes you.
Start a virtual club
From a book club to an investment club, you can do countless group activities without meeting up in person. Pick a hobby, interest, cause, or passion project— something that motivates you to action. Once you’ve settled on an activity, start finding like-minded people: within your family, friends, and network.
There are a few places online you could try out that makes the process of starting a club much easier. Facebook Groups is one of the most popular ways, given the platform’s popularity and ease of use. You could also try out Meetup, which works for both in-person and online events. There’s no shortage of places to find events and groups, even if you can’t physically meet up.
Host a happy hour
Enjoy some downtime with your coworkers and colleagues with a virtual happy hour! Regardless of the current restrictions in your area or how busy work can get, you can always find time for an hour or two to spend with your work colleagues. For some, a happy hour may be the only opportunity to get to know the people you work with.
Schedule an hour (ideally after the workday!) where you and everyone on the team can set aside your projects for a couple of drinks. You can keep it casual and have friendly conversations over drinks, or you can put a spin on it, by doing trivia or games or something similar. The best part: you don’t need to do this in person! It can be just as fun over a video chat.
Habits to help your community
Support local business
More than ever, the mom-and-pop shops in your area need your help. Restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, convenience stores all rely on local patrons to survive. Fortunately, you don’t need to do much to show your support.
The next time you consider buying a book or movie from Amazon or Target, instead, ask yourself if you can get it locally. The same applies to groceries, ordering out, and various professional services. Supporting local businesses can make all the difference within your community.
Organize neighborhood cleanups
Without frequent care, local parks and public areas can accumulate trash, which leads to bigger problems like rodent infestations, air and water pollution, and a wide range of other environmental issues.
Littering can be a community problem, but it can be solved with community action. Round up your friends and neighbors, some garbage bags, and a pair of latex gloves, then get to work! Beaches, parks, gardens, playgrounds are commonly visited areas that could use a little cleaning. You can also volunteer to help clean up National Parks. If you’re so inclined, you can even post it on social with the #TrashTag.
Offer to help your neighbors
Despite living next to other families and individuals, it’s amazing how very little we know about or interact with our neighbors. But they are part of your local community too! So in a way doing something for your neighbors is a way of giving back to the community.
Cutting grass, tutoring, walking the dogs— these are just a few ideas. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. What matters most is the act of doing something for someone that you live close to every day.
2020 has forced many around the world to change their daily routines and way of life. But for some, it has spurred a change for the better— be it eating healthier or communicating with loved ones more frequently. These habits don’t need to stop after lockdown. Instead, we can take what we’ve learned in those periods of isolation, and use them to build a more loving and peaceful world.