It’s March. Blooms have broken ground. The country is thawing. Vaccinations rest on the horizon line. For many, it feels like we’re flipping a page in our history, and with luck, we’re turning to a gentler chapter after quarantine. A lot of people are wondering how to put last year behind us. Some have already shucked their masks and are participating in get-togethers in the warming spring, and others are keeping low and hunkered down in the privacy of their homes. No matter what your beliefs or circumstances are, here are a few tips that will help you embrace the NEWEST normal as it dawns. Let’s not leave 2020 behind without learning from it.
Studies show that the onset of quarantine spurred an uptick in emotional eating, distressing mental health issues, and reduced exercise. Taking a temporary period of rest while the world scrapes through a modern plague is understandable. Perhaps you skipped a leg day, or maybe you dropped your routine altogether to focus on not falling apart. That’s okay! But now that the light has appeared at the end of the tunnel, it’s time to start combating the potential long-term effects of an anxious and sedentary lifestyle. After all, it would be tragic to trade COVID-19 for a heart disease diagnosis. A gentle walk in the sun is a great place to start.
Reduce Your Waste
The quarantine orders created hiccups in our trash collecting, recycling, reusing, and composting initiatives. After all, a pandemic is not the time to be sifting through potentially infected waste, neither is it the time to come totes-a-swingin’ up to Trader Joe’s, Goodwill, or the local compost pile. With virtually everyone using single-use items like plastic gloves, disposable masks, paper towels, and chemical cleaners, one can only imagine the influx of garbage now packed into our landfills and floating in our oceans. With vaccine distribution underway, let’s reevaluate and reestablish the habits that keep our neighborhoods clean and pretty.
Prepare for Emergencies
Food storage is not just for doomsday preppers! After coming out of a quarantine (and if you’re in Texas, also Snowmageddon), it’s natural that many would think more seriously about emergency preparedness. To save yourself future stress, consider putting together basic 72-hour kits or long-lasting food and water supplies. Even if we never see another pandemic, these stores could come in handy during times of financial instability, unemployment, sickness, injury, etc. You never know!
Think Before Retiring Your Quarantine Masks
Seeing sweaty old masks piled in your trash can must be a liberating sight, but before tossing them, take the future into account. A post-COVID United States may not mean the disappearance of masks. After all, it’s common courtesy in other countries, such as Japan and China, to regularly wear protective face coverings in public. It may not turn out so differently here. So, if your masks are washable, sanitize and store them just in case the need arises. And if your masks are disposable, be sure to cut the straps before saying sayonara, as increased reports of mask-entangled wildlife have hit the scene!
Smell Your Roses
Just the other day, I put on my mask and ventured into a store for the first time in a long time. As an introvert, I was surprised by the subtle joys I found being in a public space. I reveled in the sounds of mundane chatter and the sight of unfamiliar people simply going about their lives. It is my deepest wish that as we move forward in 2021 that we remember what a privilege it is to interact with others in person, even indirectly. Being able to go to a store is a gift. Walking through a park is a gift. Getting a hug is a gift. Keeping this in mind as we resume gathering and reclaim our lives will only make the comeback all the sweeter.
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