15 Pandemic Habits Worth Keeping

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There are many reasons to want to put the pandemic behind us. But before you set aside your mask, start visiting crowded public places and skip out on opportunities to use hand sanitizer, keep in mind some pandemic-related practices you may have picked up over the past year and a half that could help you have a healthier, happy life:

  1. Practicing self-care. Whether its meditation, listening to soothing music, soaking in the tub or even setting boundaries with your time, remember to regularly give yourself permission to unwind, reflect and regroup.
  2. Washing your hands. This tried and true practice remains a great way to reduce the spread of germs, whatever they may be. Not able to wash your hands? Hand sanitizer can work substitute when you are out and about.
  3. Cooking at home. Not only is it less expensive, it’s usually more nutritious than takeout or what you’d order if you go to a restaurant. (Check out our healthy recipes for ideas.) 
  4. Prioritizing family time. While activities, sports and social gatherings may be back, keep space on your calendar for backyard movies, board games, crafts, bike rides and outdoor play. 
  5. Showing compassion for others and attending to your own emotional needs as well. The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many of us. “Many people will be dealing with grief and emotional pain long after the pandemic is over,” says psychiatrist Andrew New, M.D. “It’s important to continue to offer support and let them know they’re not forgotten, even as life seems to be moving on.” Be especially considerate of those who lost loved ones, are experiencing long-term COVID symptoms, worked on the frontlines of healthcare during the crisis, or experienced other painful losses -- economic, social, etc. Everyone adjusts differently, so practice empathy with those in your lives.  
  6. Creating. No need to drop that paint brush or your knitting needles. Creative pursuits are naturally soothing and reparative.
  7. Exercising at home or outdoors. No need to shut down your home gym. Whether you are comfortable being back at public gyms or not, there is no excuse to skip a workout when you have invested in equipment at home. Or maybe you've rediscovered the benefits of forest bathing and working out outside. The bottom line: Keep moving! 
  8. Supporting local businesses and tipping generously. This is especially valuable for small, local restaurants and stores. Whether you choose to dine in, pick up takeout or get delivery, make sure you continue to make health food decisions.
  9. Checking in on neighbors. Stopping by to see how an elderly neighbor is faring or dropping off a home baked treat is a nurturing experience for both of you.
  10. Decluttering. Staring at the same four walls inspired a lot of people to start home projects or reorganize their space. Keeping your home organized can actually help your mental health. It helps you feel less overwhelmed and creates the sense of a more peaceful environment.
  11. Getting your hands dirty. Growing your own veggies or having fresh cut flowers is gratifying to the soul.
  12. Enjoying puzzles and games. The board games and jigsaw puzzles you re-discovered don’t need to be tucked away. Skip some TV time and gather around for some old-fashioned brain games.
  13. Writing letters and sending small gifts. There’s nothing like receiving a “just because” card or note or unexpected package. With a little effort, you can make someone’s day - especially healthcare workers!
  14. Keeping in touch with video chats. You’ve taught your relatives how to use the technology, why stop now? As so many people have become more comfortable with the technology, it opens the door for new ways to use it to connect -- with friends or family who live far away, with co-workers if you work remotely or with even with local friends who can't get a babysitter for a night out on the town. Classes, church services, book clubs -- there's lots of online options many people may continue to take advantage of long after the pandemic ends. 
  15. Using video visits, e-visits and messaging to access your health care providers. These convenient options help you take good care of your health.
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To find a Henry Ford doctor or make an appointment, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-436-7936.

Andrew New, M.D., is a psychiatrist and sees patients at Henry Ford Allegiance Outpatient Behavioral Health in Jackson.

Categories: FeelWell