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Bad Habits You May Have Inadvertently Broken During Quarantine

May 4, 2020, 16:23 PM by Sara Trautman

In a time when our daily routines have been shaken up, reinvented or tossed out, the word “normal” has taken on a nostalgic ring.

And there are valid reasons for that.

If we are inventing a new wheel every day, we aren’t going to have a lot of energy to do much else. Structure frees us up by automating the small, repetitive decisions in life so we can tackle the bigger ones, and the helpful, healthful habits woven into daily life can add up to life-altering gains.

But how many unintentional negative habits do we pick up along the way? The disruption of the normal during COVID-19 and subsequent stay-at-home orders may be the perfect time to look at which negative habits have fallen away and if there are ways to keep them from creeping back in.

Here are three bad habits that may be going the way of handshakes and high fives:

The Habit of Grabbing the Keys

car keys in ignition

Ugh. No avocados or tortillas. I’m out the door and in the car. It’s taco Tuesday night. No choice but to run to the store.

Except I haven’t been doing that recently.

It turns out there is a choice. Burrito bowls (without avocados) are going to be on the menu tonight. The avocados and tortillas land squarely on the shopping list for the next big grocery order.

It turns out that so many of the little errands I habitually run don’t actually need to happen at all. During quarantine, we have become better at being creative, doing without and using what we have on hand. Honestly, has doing this put a damper on the quality of our lives? I would argue that, in general, it has brought more variety, creativity and some financial savings into mine, as well as the good feels of showing a little extra love to the environment.

The Habit of Neglecting Long Distance Relationships

Family connecting on Zoom

Another interesting phenomenon has emerged with stay-at-home orders: It’s just as easy to virtually hang out with my friend living in Mexico as it is with my local friends.

We’ve all muddled through the glitches and found our favorite chat service. The social creature within has demanded that even the most tech-resistant among us learn ways to be together when we are apart. And many of us are finding that while it will never replace face-to-face interaction, it’s definitely worth the effort.

For me, these relationships are genuinely deepening and growing, and there has been talk of long-overdue in-person reunions.

The Habit of Entitled Thinking

hands holding world

Libraries, hugs, traveling, toilet paper, brunch, live music — these don’t amount to a drop in the bucket of all of the things I took for granted.

In fact, I would say I felt entitled to all of these things. The newly discovered appreciation for simple things seems like a refreshing reset. Left to our own devices, it is astonishingly easy to creep toward the draw of more, bigger and better — while rushing by the magic of the little moments.

Today, when I’m daydreaming about a trip to visit loved ones, long security lines and flight delays are inconsequential. The freedom to be able to travel and to be met with a hug at the end of the flight seems like magic. Casually strolling into a crowded grocery store to grab whatever my heart desires off fully-stocked shelves while not worrying for the safety of every customer and employee in the store? What a luxury.

And I am vowing here and now, all of the belly laughs, courtesy of a particularly hilarious coworker, will henceforth be thoroughly cherished. We have already grieved the loss of so much. Now it’s time to grab on to the rare opportunity for a gratitude and perspective do-over. 

Breaking a negative habit is a big deal, but we will soon find ourselves at a tipping point. How easy it would be to rush blindly toward the comfort of normalcy. Right now is the time to claim that victory and decide how to best integrate the better practices we have found into post-COVID life.  

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