Maria H. Drzaszcz
Post pandemic habits worth keeping
After two years of our daily life uprooted, we all are more than thrilled to move past the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is here to stay, but at levels much lower than what was previously seen. In the near future we could be moving to a new phase in which COVID-19 changes from pandemic to endemic. This means the virus will likely continue to circulate within the population, but at lower rates or seasonally. It is still worth remaining vigilant when it comes to COVID-19 and keeping those healthy habits. Here are some post pandemic habits you want to keep as part of your regular routine:
Handwashing. This is my favorite habit and one that should be practiced regardless, as basic illness prevention. Handwashing is the simplest and most effective way to get rid of germs on your hands. Use soap and water and wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Always wash your hands before and after preparing, or eating foods and after using the bathroom. Also wash before and after caring for a sick individual, after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose, after changing diapers, and after touching pets, pet foods or pet waste. Remember any soap and clean water will do the trick. When soap and water are not available, it is best to use an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. My bottle of sanitizer still remains in my car and probably always will now.
Skipping handshakes or hugs. This one really depends on personal preference. Some people like handshakes as a sign of respect. Others could forego the handshake long before the pandemic even began. Think about it though, any germ on one person’s hand is now on the second person’s hand and not everyone is vigilant about handwashing. If an individual is obviously sick appearing or sounding, skip the hugs and kisses as well.
New workouts and cooking at home. When the pandemic first hit, many of us found ourselves with extra time on our hands, not to mention groceries out of stock and gyms closing. Many of us started more home cooking. Home cooked meals are often healthier than eating out often or fast food options. It’s also great for the family to stay connected by sharing meals. When gyms were closed, many of us started at home or even virtual workout routines. It’s easier to stay on track now with home workout routines and also a great way to relieve stress.
Paying attention to our mental health. As the pandemic took hold on our daily lives, many people found themselves suffering from anxiety and depression. Many people also faced grief and loss of loved ones as a result of the pandemic. The mental health toll of the pandemic will be felt years from now. It’s important to recognize when we need help with coping and it is absolutely okay to seek out professional help. Mindfulness practices can also be very helpful during times of anxiety or stress. Mental health is an integral part of overall health. Talkspace.com and betterhelp.com can point you in the right direction in a search for mental health counselors.
Stay up to date on changing vaccine guidelines. We have all learned how ever changing and unpredictable anything associated with COVID-19 can be. Experts are always learning about this evolving disease. Listen to the CDCs emerging guidelines on vaccinations and boosters.
Stay home when sick. Not just with COVID-19, but with anything. As a general rule of thumb, you should be fever free for 24 hours before resuming work or school.
Remember to stay vigilant against COVID-19, as it’s here to stay.
Maria H. Drzaszcz, a Hammonton resident, is a registered nurse with 14 years critical care experience and is the proud mom of three young children.