Have you been cooking at home more often? Or have you picked up a new hobby? As life takes on a semblance of normality, it's time to take inventory of the good and bad habits that you've picked up since the pandemic started.
Healthy vs. unhealthy habits
Good habits take time, patience and perseverance to develop, so if you've gotten used to working from home in sweatpants, there's likely going to be a period of adjustment. As you go back to commuting, taking kids to school and resuming more of your pre-pandemic schedule, try to keep some of the healthier habits you picked up while working from home, such as:
- Cooking at home more; eating out less frequently
- Spending quality time with family
- Enjoying outdoor activities: walks, hikes, bike rides, etc.
- Connecting with friends and family virtually
- Learning new skills or taking up new hobbies
- Reading or listening to more books
- Simplifying your routine, from make-up and clothing to shopping and entertaining
- Setting appropriate boundaries with work and keeping a good life balance
As we adjust our routines once again, it's also a good time to acknowledge and abandon some of the bad habits you might have picked up during the past year or two:
- Reduce your reliance on food delivery services. Getting your favorite fast food or restaurant meals delivered to your door has been increasingly popular during the past few years. But if that's resulted in gaining a few "pandemic pounds", now's the time to try and shed them. Preparing more healthy (and easy) meals at home is a great first step! Get healthy recipes from El Camino Health here.
- Re-Enter your social circle. Another common "bad" habit is staying inside or avoiding going out and doing things as we once did. While it's important to still take precautions, if you're fully vaccinated, you should be able to go out and spend time with friends and family who are also vaccinated. Diving back into a packed social schedule after two years of relative isolation may not be realistic. Reintroduce these things at a pace that feels safe and comfortable to you.
- Get better sleep. While the pandemic affected everyone differently, a common struggle has been loss of sleep or poorer sleep quality. Make regular and consistent sleep a priority. Get back on a consistent schedule to ensure you're getting enough sleep.
- Set work boundaries. Working from home can blur the lines between work life and home life. It's been all too easy to start work in your pajamas in the morning, and continue working past the time that you normally would. Separate these areas of your life and seek to implement appropriate boundaries.
- Get routine screenings. It is perfectly safe to visit your doctor's office and you need to do it. When was the last time you got a physical? Stay caught up with vaccinations, flu shots, blood work, mammograms, blood pressure, and other screenings that are important to your health.
As you aim to keep good habits in your life, and reverse some of the unhealthy habits, keep in mind that we're all in a state of adjustment. Prioritize your mental and physical health and meet with your doctor to make sure you're doing everything you can to stay healthy and well.
This article first appeared in the November 2021 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.