As we move through this time, what good new habits will we bring with us?

I’ve been reflecting on some wonderful new habits I’ve formed over the last 4 weeks. I wonder which of these will stay with me when the time of Covid-19 has passed and which bad old patterns will creep back.

Some habits can take as little as 30 days to form and stick. Others take a lot longer. I’m hoping these new habits stick with me.

  • Family – I live in a family of six. There’s my partner, three children ranging from 19 to 14 years old, and our dog called Millie. In previous times, I would leave the house before anyone was awake and arrive home around 7pm. Now, I love being home with my family. We have dinner together every night, including weekends, and nobody is rushing off afterwards. We sit and actually talk to one another other. Yes that’s right, we talk with our teenage children and they talk back to us! After dinner we’ve developed a lovely routine of playing cards and board games. We even have family workout sessions in a small gym we are lucky enough to have in the house. These times together are connecting us in beautiful new ways.
  • Wellbeing – I am old enough to remember when there was no trading on Sundays. This quiet day in the week was peaceful and calming. The slower pace of these current days of isolation feels a lot like those bygone Sundays. It’s a paradox that, while many of us are more anxious and stressed, there is stillness to be found. If we can tap into it, there are huge wellbeing benefits.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually really busy with work, trying to keep a business going and quickly adjusting to our new normal. Like everybody else, I’m concerned about paying bills and how I will get through this period. But it feels different now. The ‘busyness’ is less hectic. We don’t have the social engagements that we did, although virtual parties are on the rise. I’m not rushing kids to and from school sports, but I see more people than ever before out running, riding, walking and exercising. I am enjoying a simpler life.

  • Time – I’ve hardly driven my car anywhere for the last few weeks and I don’t have the fifty minute commute to work and back. That’s a time saving of almost two hours per day that would normally be spent travelling. Magically, all the objections we had about connecting via technology have dissolved away. We are learning that it’s okay not to meet physically, face-to-face.  It feels a lot more time efficient. I just set up a Zoom or Teams meeting and people are right there with me, in my home. While I will eventually hanker for other human contact, for now, this part of the change is working wonderfully.
  • Exercise – physical activity has always been part of my life and I’m finding that now, I can do more without the pressure of rushing around to fit it in around work. I’ve been changing things up a bit, sometimes doing a longer workout and at other times doing two or three smaller activities throughout the day. This can include a bike ride first thing in the morning and, after a block of virtual meetings, a walk in the local park. I can more easily choose to pause, get up from my desk and get active. The work is still there when I return, but the changed rhythm of life allows me to punctuate the day with short breaks and tend to my physical and mental wellbeing.

I am acutely aware that I am experiencing this new world from a position of relative privilege, and many others are confronting more extreme hardship at this time.

But, as well as surviving this period, it is important for us to learn and thrive, where we can. Good new habits can outlast the virus.  I’m taking the time to think about how I can ensure these new habits stick with me for life.

How are you using this time to build new positive habits and maintain them beyond this incredible time in our lives?