Happy first birthday, new normal. That’s right. It has been a whole year since Covid reached pandemic status. Ever since then, our lives have not been the same.
From washing our groceries in a frantic flurry—and later finding out that it’s not necessary—to finding home alternatives for our fitness routine, the virus has taken centre stage in almost all of our decision-making process.
Yet as the “old normal” approaches, there are some things I hope would remain incorporated into our daily routine.
Lightning and organised efficiency is one that would be missed dearly. Who knew fear can be used to both speed things up and keep everything in order? The ability to schedule mundane things such as a trip to the bank or a visit to the vet is a dream come true for those of us that seem to be running on infinite deadlines.
A typical visit to the bank used to take at least an hour. Now, all you have to do is walk in during your appointment with the necessary documents and you’re out the door in minutes! Has the pandemic made us more efficient? Or perhaps forced us to all be more tech-savvy? Just imagine what all of humanity can achieve once we cut out all those pointless hours queueing. Statistically speaking, we spend 6 months of our lives just waiting in line!
Importantly, stringent hygiene practices have to stay. Naomi Campbell was truly ahead of her time when she said “This is what I do in every plane I get on. I do not care what people think of me. It’s my health,” as she took a Dettol wipe to every surface within the proximity of her seat. Later in that 2019 video, she proceeds to wear a face mask, addressing the coughing and sneezing that are bound to happen in-flight, and how she believes that it’s her disinfecting routine that is keeping her healthy during her travels.
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At this point, the entire world population is aware of the proper hand-washing technique, which includes soap and two rounds of the “Happy Birthday” song. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even noted that proper handwashing can reduce respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, in the general population by 16-21 per cent.
Taking another page from Naomi’s book, let’s hope everyone agrees that face masks should be part of your medicine cabinet at home. Instead of viewing this as a violation of human rights (I know some of the population do), think of it this way: in the US alone, it’s estimated that about 10 million people are immunocompromised, and these people can benefit from the rest of us masking up whenever we’re feeling under the weather because, for Mandy Elmore, the common cold can render her hospitalised.
And let’s face it, it’s nice to keep ourselves safe too, especially when travelling or heading to crowded places.
As of August 2020, only 17 per cent of the world has fully allocated funding to address the mental health crisis that arose from the outbreak. So it doesn’t come as a shock when search terms such as ‘meditation’ have seen their largest spikes in five years when we were in the thick of the pandemic. People were trying to find ways to cope with all the doom and gloom.
Mental health experts warn of the lasting and distressing impact that the pandemic might have. Now that we can see that hopeful glint of the light at the end of the tunnel, it would be crucial for the rest of us to stay alert of our mental wellbeing in order to prevent long-term negative effects. Forget Keeping up with the Kardashians, it’s time to keep up with ourselves with these new norms.
Part of taking care of our emotional state is by being of service, especially to our community. Instagram has made it easy by plugging in a “Support Small Businesses” sticker so that everyone on the platform can give their favourite local brands a well-deserved and much-needed shout-out.
Supporting local businesses also means we’re supporting the local economy. A Chicago study found that for every US$100 spent at local businesses, US$68 remained in the city, while only US$43 when spent at a chain retailer.