We all remember a moment in March 2020 when we had to change the way we did things in nearly every aspect of our lives – literally overnight.
Three years later, COVID-19 cases in Colorado are hovering around historic lows and experts are beginning to feel more confident talking about the endemic phase of the disease. The general public is less concerned about social distancing, and masks have become a relatively niche practice.
Even so, some parts of our lives have maintained a vaguely pandemic nature, which inspires whole new conversation topics about which “new” habits we adopted during the darkest days of the pandemic that still have a significant presence in our latest sense of “normal.”
With so many of the short- and longer-term impacts of the pandemic being felt in the mental health space, how have mental health experts changed things permanently? We thought we’d find out by asking a few mental health experts from our TherapyDirect program what practices from the pandemic days they’ve kept in their lives. Here are a few:
Connecting Across the Country to Exercise…
“I started virtually working out with a friend across the country. It was a fun way to connect and do something we enjoy together even though we live far apart. We still set up workout dates a few times a week.” – Cari
…and Support Personal Growth
“A friend and I started a shared Google doc where we would both respond to a daily journal prompt. We were living in different states at the time and it was a good way to stay connected and have something to look forward to. We still write in it randomly from time to time!” – Morgan
“Doing a lot more solo activities, like going on walks, spending time at the park and going to the movies – it’s the best.” – Rachael
Online Shopping to Save Hassle…
“Online shopping was not my thing until the pandemic and now I do most of my shopping online.” – Yianir
…and Sneak in More Family Time
“Ordering groceries online and doing the pick-up. It saves time and money for sure, and my child and I get to spend some time together while we wait. Win/Win.” – Laura
“Going for walks throughout the day. I used to get so antsy when we were in lockdown and now walking has become a regular activity for stress.” – Shelbee
Greater Flexibility in Work Life
“Telehealth and working remotely.” – Audrie
Self-Care As an Act of Love
“My pandemic-era practice that is still in my life is my skincare routine! During that time, there was a lot of awareness around self-care and well-being. I felt motivated to include something in my day that made me feel good, so I decided to create a morning and nighttime routine that I follow to this day. Not only have I seen great results in my skin, but I feel like I gift myself an act of love every day.” – Ivonne
There are many others we heard about as well, from more diligence around handwashing to being more mindful of stress and anxiety. Others have been more intentional about the important relationships in their lives, from friends and family to positive acquaintances in their neighborhoods.
What are some pandemic practices you have kept in your life?
Finally, we want to acknowledge that for many people, COVID-19 is still very much top of mind, in particular those who are at increased risk of serious illness as well as those who are grappling with the effects of long COVID.
How to Get Support
If you or someone in your life needs support, mental health experts from TherapyDirect are standing by 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can access a professional counselor in minutes, all via a secure video call or leave your contact information for a follow up call when it’s convenient for you.
For urgent support 24/7 in Colorado, contact Colorado Crisis Services (1-844-493-8255). Outside Colorado, dial 988 to be connected with local support based on your area code.