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More wise and helpful words about the pandemic: What I wish I had known when I first got COVID-19. & The Struggle of having Symptoms—Am I a Coronavirus Long-Hauler?
“It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.” ~ John Steinbeck
I have heard some complaining about the term “the new normal”—about how dumb it is, and that things will go back to normal in no time.
But do we really want to go back to the normal we know?
There are certainly some things that made our days special and I cannot wait to go back to: a cup of coffee with a friend, or a hug that makes all the pain go away, or even the simple smile of a loved one amidst a hectic work day. However, we would be crazy to go back to our old ways, like nothing has happened.
The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call to the entire human race. It is a cry for help from our beautiful planet, begging us to be more conscious than ever.
Here are a few routines that used to be part of our normal that we should think twice before going back to:
1. Waking up in a rush
Most mornings, we tend to sleep in and rush to work. We only wake up after snoozing the alarm clock a time or 10, and like a robot, shower, get dressed, and have coffee on-the-go. One thing I have established during quarantine is a morning routine where I have time to breathe, be thankful, and embrace the day. These “new mornings” have never felt better.
2. Not being eco-friendly
Before the pandemic, we were in so much of a hurry that we needed everything to be ready in no time, which meant more plastic, no recycling, and more consumption. Consequently, we abused the generosity of our planet and risked the safety of all creatures, not only the human race. Our “new normal” should include us consuming less and less non-eco-friendly products from now on.
3. Buying things we do not need
Boy, if there was a prize for “Consumer of the Year” I would certainly win it. I spend so much money on things I do not really need and only during this lockdown have I noticed that I actually need so little. Thus, living frugally has become my new normal and I love it—and so does my bank account.
4. Socializing when we don’t feel like it
We used to believe that socializing was essential for business and pleasure. However, we’ve proven to ourselves that we can easily survive and have successful relationships, businesses, and friendships without having to push ourselves to go to all of those gatherings and outings. One thing is for sure: I will never again make myself accept an invitation I am not so excited about.
5. Minimizing traffic and air pollution
I wish I could say that the most positive outcome of this lockdown will last and air pollution will keep decreasing until full restoration is accomplished. But since wishful thinking doesn’t achieve much, let’s be more conscious about taking action for a better future. Personally, I’ve decided to walk more and use my car only when it is absolutely necessary.
6. Neglecting self-care
Being confined to our homes has made us take the time to develop a self-care routine. When rushing through life, people don’t really think about bubble baths, candles, breathing techniques, or simply washing their hands for 20 seconds. The new normal taught us how to take care of the most precious thing we own, which is ourselves.
7. Not being compassionate enough
We have recently become more compassionate due to the mere reminder of our fragility as humans. We see people helping out and sacrificing for the sick and the weak. I’ve never seen a more united front, simply because this pandemic is impacting the entire world. I do not want to lose this sense of unity when this is over.
8. Avoiding anything spiritual
A sad part of adulting is that we often lose track of our spirituality. The soul needs silence to be felt—a quiet mind, calm surroundings, and a sense of surrender. Going back to the normal that was killing my soul before my body is out of the question. A lot of people, including myself, have experienced a spiritual self-discovery and do not want to go back to their old ways.
9. Not connecting with our loved ones
We used to see people way more often, but we have never connected the way we do now. Text messages, phone calls, and video chats are keeping us close, although we’re physically separate. When things go back to normal, I want to be reminded of this kind of proximity and depth. I am not taking the people I love for granted ever again.
10. Not making time to do the things we love
We’ve all thought about finishing that book or painting. Some of us have always wanted more time to write, meditate, knit, or simply cook. But we were always in a hurry to do the things we do not like doing first. However, this new normal has given us more time to do the things that we really love, and I hope that continues.
The world, as we know it, will not and should not go back to the “old ways.” I believe a new and better normal is becoming more evident each day.
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” ~ Lao Tzu