Things to keep in mind once the pandemic passes.
COVID-19 was a shock to the system. It changed the way we lived, walked, talked and thought. In modern history, there’s never been a time quite like it. But, now—in Australia, at least—the panic has largely passed. Life is starting to return to normal, or a new kind of normal. The climb back to normality will be long and slow. What do we need to remember from this time? What habits should we keep up? We’ve come up with a list of 10 things we should keep in mind post COVID-19.
1. Keep Washing Your Hands
At the height of COVID-19, our hands were cracked and dry. You’ve probably never washed your hands so often or so thoroughly. While there’s no need to be fanatical about it, good hygiene should stay. The COVID-19 virus is likely to remain in the community for some time yet, undetected. The threat of infection is lower because the cases are fewer, but it is still there. And, one of the most effective methods of preventing that curve from steepening again is hygiene. Plus, even without COVID-19 in the picture, good hygiene is important for society’s health at large. So, make this a habit you stick to: keep washing your hands.
2. Keep Listening
We can attribute Australia’s relatively successful combat of COVID-19 largely to our cooperation with restrictions. We were told to keep our distance, and we did. We were told to stay at home, and we did. We’ve seen what happens when we listen to healthcare experts and government officials—good things. In general, they know what they’re talking about. So, as COVID-19 eases, let’s keep listening to them. The restrictions will be rolled back slowly and that may be frustrating. But, it’s important that we learn our lesson. Let’s keep listening to health and safety recommendations.
3. Stay Home if You Need to
We’re used to battling through the cold and flu season. What’s a little sniffle? It’s not going to keep me from going to work. Well it should. If you are sick, stay home. If you have symptoms, coming in to work could infect others. Don’t risk it. The same goes for those of us who are especially vulnerable. If you’re immunocompromised, take it easy and protect yourself. If you work somewhere where you’re highly exposed, take the appropriate precautions. The next few months will require us all to play our part. Just because we don’t have to stay home, doesn’t necessarily mean we should be out and about as normal. If you’re unwell, stay home.
4. Take Care of Each Other
COVID-19 has reminded us what it means to be a good friend. When we’re separated from each other, it’s easier to remember who might be lonely. Many of us have become pretty good at picking up the phone and dialing a friend, just to check in. Let’s keep this up. Whether COVID-19 is here or not, we all need a friend. There will always be people who are feeling a little isolated. Make a list of those people you want to regularly check-in on, and commit to that. Put them on speed-dial. Be a friend. Let’s keep taking care of each other.
5. Love that Body
Many Australians are exercising more than ever. The footpaths have been full of runners and walkers. Families are exercising together and dogs are being walked more regularly. People have increased their mileage or challenged themselves to new workout routines. During months of isolation, exercise has kept us sane and healthy. Let’s keep it up! There is no reason to stop exercising. If you’ve found a new routine which works for you, build it into your post COVID-19 life. It might mean setting the alarm a little earlier or changing your weekend rhythms, but your body will thank you for it.
6. How to Work Well from Home
We’ve all become WFH pros. Maybe you love it—or maybe you hate it. Wherever you’re at, we bet you’ve learnt how to work more productively from home. Let’s take that lesson forward with us. As COVID-19 restrictions are slowly rolled back, many of us should keep working from home if and when we can. The less time in communal spaces, the better. Now you know how to do it well, make the most of it! Speak to your employer about flexible working arrangements and make sure you have everything you need to WFH well.
7. Keep up Your Relational Health
Being stuck in the same house, day in and day out, does wonders for many relationships. It’s hard work, absolutely. But many of our family and household relationships have deepened and strengthened during this time. We’ve learnt more about each other. We’ve spent more time together. We’ve resolved long term conflicts or improved our communication. Whatever relational lessons you’ve learnt, keep learning! If your relational health has benefited during COVID-19, don’t let that slip away. Continue to invest time in your relationships. Reflect on what you’ve learnt during this time and think about some practical ways you can keep implementing those lessons.
8. Save Your Pennies
For those of us fortunate enough to still have work, our bank accounts are pretty happy right now. Less eating out, less cinema tickets, less overseas holidays, less petrol. It all adds up. You may have even noticed, perhaps for the first time, how much money you usually spend on these things. COVID-19 has taught us what we really need. Are there financial lessons you can learn from this? If your savings account is looking healthy at the moment, try to maintain that. Reassess your budget and see what habits you can maintain.
9. Habits and Hobbies
Some people have picked up an #isolife hobby. Thousands of Aussies have been baking sourdough. Some of us have learnt a new instrument or picked up a new language. Maybe you’ve got back into reading or have picked up a new skill. Perhaps you could take this with you into post COVID-19 life. There’s no reason to stop if you’re enjoying it. You can make the time for it. For some of us, COVID-19 has shown us that we have more time than we think. We don’t need to be so busy. This is a great lesson to learn.
10. Keep Learning about Yourself
Times of difficulty cause us to reflect. Chances are that in recent months you’ve learnt more about yourself and the world. You’ve been asking big questions. You’ve been thinking about how you feel and how you function. Under stress, you may have seen a new side of yourself. Self-reflection is the key to growth. This is one habit which should definitely stick around, post COVID-19. Grab a journal and write down some of your observations, questions, goals and reflections. What can you work on? What do you still want to understand? Who do you want to be?
The road to recovery is not a highway. It’s more like a windy country lane. COVID-19 will continue to impact our lives for some time yet. As restrictions ease and normal life begins to return, what do you want to bring with you? There are many lessons to be learnt, from the practical to the emotional. Whether it’s washing your hands, calling a friend or working well from home—we can learn from this experience. Habits, hobbies, attitudes, time management, relationship dynamics, every area of our life has been impacted. By reflecting on recent months, we’re sure you’ll find some things you want to keep in mind, post COVID-19. Grab a friend and a cuppa… and get talking.