Seven Habits to Break During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Image by ituzaingo from Pixabay


We have access to so much excess living in America. Sometimes the prevailing attitude is, well, if it breaks, I’ll just get a new one. Usually it’s cheaper to get a new one. We grab disposable out of convenience, even if we do choose to recycle.

I decided when I started this blog I wanted to move towards a zero waste life. But having a baby changes everything. I didn’t opt for cloth diapers like I’d hoped—the reality of parenthood overwhelmed me.

And over the last two years, I’ve got out of control with my paper towel usage. I feel very uncomfortable touching moist or wet food with my hands, and toddlers drop a ton of wet food. Two weeks ago I decided to use cloth napkins and bar rags to replace my paper towel addiction.

Now that our access has been cut off, being wasteful will not serve you. I’m not suggesting to adapt a lack mindset. But being grateful for what you have and using what you already have will make sure you continue to have.

Ordering takeout when when you have food you planned to eat in the fridge already; Using gobs of paper towels to clean up spills instead of a towel; using a full cap of laundry detergent instead of measuring to the hard-to-see-line on the cup; and choosing disposable for everything for the sake of sanitation will not help you in the long term. Nor will it prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

“No disposable package is today sterile, just to be explicitly clear,” said Tom Szaky, the founder and CEO of TerraCycle in an interview with Grist. Different kinds of disposable packaging have different microbial limits set by independent standard-setting organizations — and unless a product is explicitly marked sterile, none of those limits are zero. That means a certain level of bacterial contamination is considered acceptable and inevitable.

Take a disposable plastic bottle, Szaky said. “That bottle is going to be moving through a bottle plant. It’s going to be put onto a pallet. That whole process is being touched and dust is being collected on it,” he said. “In no way should you take the message from me that a disposable package is dangerous … It’s just not surgically sterile and not even close.”

Can the Zero Waste Movement Survive the Cornovirus?

Using cloth napkins and bar rags allows me to clean and wipe my hands as needed without having to fight the masses, or increase my exposure to the Cornoavirus at the store. Reuseable, eco-friendly products will last longer than having to buy replacements every week. And my family can save money over the long term—which may be needed in the future if our income is reduced due to lack of work.

Constant Consumption

This means eating up your “rations” and consuming news articles, social media, food, television, movies, video games and other media for days and weeks on end.

Constant consumption of all sorts will turn you into a zombie. A fat or mind-dead zombie. Who will you be when the smoke clears and it’s safe to be around family and friends again? A zombie? Or a happy, refreshed person.

I’m asking myself these questions everyday to keep myself accountable.

I can manage to avoid sitting in front of a screen all day. I get bored watching TV, even a show I like, anyway. The eating, however, is difficult. If I know there are delicious foods in the house, I will think about them until they have been consumed. Not a healthy habit to have when stuck inside. I’ve always used eating as an emotional crutch and it’s a habit I’m working to break.

I want to forget that all of this is happening, too. I don’t want to imagine how it may impact my family, our livelihoods, and my daughter’s future.

Wallace Wattles has some great reading on the subject in The Science of Being Well. And after following it for a short time I lost a ton of weight. Climbing back on the horse as I write.

I used to be somewhat in shape when I lived in Miami. Now, I can barely do a “girl” push up—a modified push up. I get a burn resting on hands and knees—during yoga. Spending my days at home with my daughter has made me more sedentary than I’d hoped, and this quarantine has the potential to make it worse.

So, my husband and I have committed to training our bodies during this time. Not only do I want to be healthy, I want to be physically prepared for any scenario.

This is a time of rest and creation. Preparation and diligence. This is time I can stop consuming and start doing.

What will you do while the world comes to a standstill?

Stewing in Negativity

You are responsible for yourself and your emotions. It is scientifically proven that your emotions affect your physical wellbeing. Stewing in negativity will not help your health. It will not improve your life, nor will it help you endure these trying times.

This is a time to practice gratitude and forgiveness.

There was a time in my life where everything was negative. There were no positive outcomes. In fact, I thrived on negativity to write creatively. I didn’t see it at the time, but this was bothersome to the people around me. Nothing in my life went as I hoped. I was depressed, angry, and cynical.

I still wouldn’t describe myself as a “Happy Hallie,” and sometimes I get uncomfortable around “super positive” people. But this is something I’m working on, and during times where I’ve shifted my attitude, I’ve seen unexpected, happy results.

Image by Thomas B. from Pixabay

Poor Communication

You are going to be in close quarters with people. Being petty, passive aggressive, bitter, cynical, negative, critical and judgmental is not going to make quarantine pleasant for anyone. This is a great time to practice loving communication with your loved ones. You may be stuck inside with them with for a few months or longer.

When I’m unable to communicate in a postitve way—reacting instead of responding—I like to revisit Don Miguel Ruiz’s two books, The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love.

The books often remind me not to take other people’s words and actions personally. That what people say and do are about them, and not about me. That people are often responding to someone touching their wounds, and not to the situation in front of them.

Putting Off Dreams and Goals

There is nothing wrong with rest. In fact, it is very important to heed the call for national rest and healing. The world has all but stopped, and you should too. I’m sure many of you are still required to work from home—and will be held accountable for it. But what else will you do with your time?

Whatever passion you have inside, whatever is burning for expression, why hold it back just because you’re in quarantine? Why say, “I’ll do it when the quarantine is over.” This may be our new normal. New ideas, solutions, technological advances may come out of this time when we’re forced to be creative.

I’m going to be writing, drawing, and reading. Maybe studying languages. I’m normally at home all day anyway, carefully rationing my free time. Now, with my husband working from home, I have a second pair of eyes on our little one.

Neglecting Self-Care

It’s easy to sit on our butts, stuff our faces, consume media, and work from home 24/7. Just because we can’t gather publicly doesn’t mean we can’t exercise, go outside, get enough rest, give ourselves a mani/pedi, hydrate, eat well, and keep promises to ourselves.

We should practice self-care no matter what else is going on in the world. Furthermore, self-care will help us stay healthy during these challenging times.

I know it’s hard for Moms, because are little ones need us, all the time. But just as you have to make time for yourself during “normal,” life, it is even more important to make time to care for yourself during this time. Your health—and the health of your family—depends on it.

I’m guilty of not drinking water and holding my pee because I don’t want to disturb my little one when she’s sleep in my lap. And staying up too late because it’s the only time I can get peace and quiet to myself. These choices don’t set me up for long term health. Since my husband’s home, I’m making sure I take some time to care for my health.

Remaining Blissfully Ignorant

Ignorance may be bliss. I don’t like watching the news because it’s overly alarmist, biased against certain ethnic groups and political parties, and often neglects some important issues. I’d be more relaxed if I had no clue about COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean I get to stick my head in the sand, nor accept everything I see on Instagram without doing further research.

The internet is vast. If I see some outrageous “fact,” I have some time to look it up. I keep abreast of the local and national recommendations.But I won’t read endless articles about Covid-19 either.

THis also is a time when I can learn. Learn about my local environment, learn about my country and the world. I can learn new useful skills that can help me in the future. I can borrow e-books and audio books from the library. I can keep my mind sharp.

What habits will you break while stuck at home? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.