COVID-19 and its impacts have hit us all differently and though this year has thrown us for a whirlwind, I do believe some good can come out of it. It’s all about how we press on. This time has been a great reflection—to examine habits, daily life, and what we want for the future.
While we adjust to this “new normal,” I wanted to do a little bit of goal setting and highlight some healthy habits to adopt as we move forward.
Some of these tips are how to be more environmentally friendly, some revolve around mindset and how you look at things, and some are for the future of travel.
Here are 10 healthy habits to adopt as we move forward!
While we’re still supporting local restaurants and ordering takeout, we’ve been eating at home a lot more! While cooking isn’t for everyone—I find it very therapeutic and a nice time to decompress in the evening.
One of my favorite things has been trying recipes from around the world. Many TBA readers have contributed recipes from all over the globe and it’s a great way to bring different flavors and cultures into our meals!
Switch to Plant-Based Milks
A few years ago, I decided I wanted to take measures to reduce waste in my home and one of the easiest ways for me to do that was to cut back on plastic and packaging by making my own dairy-free milk.
I prefer to opt for alternative milk over dairy for several reasons: less waste, fewer chemicals, and overall better digestion, to boot.
Since we’ve been isolating and trying to limit our trips to the grocery store, making plant-based milk at home has been wonderful!
Almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk—there are so many “alternative milks” out there…and that’s just a few of them!Read More
Schedule “You Time”
Make time for yourself. I know I might sound like I’m playing mom when I say this, but spending time doing the things you love and being with yourself is important!
I think many folks learned this when suddenly everyone was at home all the time. But be an advocate for yourself, block off time where you can do whatever you would like.
Whether this means actively practicing a new hobby—painting, yoga, photography—or going on long walks, make time for yourself.
Make Time for Loved Ones
On the same note of scheduling “you time,” also make sure to connect with the people you love.
So often we have good intentions and make plans to catch up over a cup of coffee—and then don’t always follow through on that. However, when that option was taken away and we were no longer able to meet up with friends at the coffee shop, it became crystal clear just how important it is.
From friends to family, reach out to the people you want to spend time with. Even if you aren’t in the same city, state, or country, there are so many different avenues of communication, and scheduling a video call is a wonderful option.
Turn Off Sometimes
Have you checked how much media you’ve been consuming? How much time do you spend on your phone or scrolling the internet per day? Be aware of these little habits and what you’re taking in.
Figure out what works best for you. Turn your phone on silent when you need to. Turn off the TV and limit your media consumption.
Be mindful of how much time is spent on your devices.
Treat Yourself Kindly
From getting your body moving to eating vegetables to getting enough sleep—it can be easy to take our health for granted sometimes.
Most routines were shaken up during this time…some involved sleeping in, others involved little to no exercise, or eating comfort food round the clock. During this time, I suffered from a lower back injury and it was really difficult to walk, move, or stretch.
Now I’m making sure to incorporate walks, stretching, and different forms of exercise throughout my day. When it comes to exercise, find something you love and stick with it. It could be swimming, yoga, a dance class, long walks—you name it!
Listen to what your body is telling you. Treat it kindly. Continue working on your health and be thankful for it.
Pay Attention to Your Body
On that note of treating your body kindly, it’s good to recognize what is normal for you and what’s not. Now more than ever, if I am experiencing symptoms of a cold or feeling ill—I will limit my exposure to others.
When traveling in Japan (pre-pandemic), I noticed how many people wore masks while out and about. Many folks do this to prevent the spread of illness to others and I appreciate that act of kindness!
It’s easy to get lost in all the chaos of what’s going on and also become upset, bitter, or angry over different circumstances. I get it.
For me, practicing gratitude every day is a powerful thing to improve my mindset.
Try starting your morning by recognizing and acknowledging things you are thankful for that day. While some things might seem minor, there are so many things to be thankful for. Take time to appreciate what is around you and the beauty in your life.
Be a Tourist in Your Own City
Staycation — all I ever wanted!
You don’t have to hop on a jet for a vacation! I’m a big advocate for exploring your locale and being a tourist in your own city.
This kind of goes in line with practicing gratitude — it can be easy to not appreciate the things you see every day. However, when you actively plan a staycation and time to enjoy where you live, you can often find a whole slew of new things you never noticed before!
Try a new restaurant, try a new mode of transportation (walking, biking, rollerblading, etc.), and you might see a different side of where you live.
Easy Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly
As we’ve seen different habitats and eco-systems start the process of restoring without masses of people and identified impacts we have on the environment, there are actions we can take both at home and as travel begins to be more “green.”
Reduce Plastic Usage
Each single-use plastic item you don’t throw away is one less piece of plastic not getting discarded into the landfills or the oceans. And small changes every day add up to big changes.
Take into account your groceries, household items, beauty products, food items (takeout containers, coffee cups, things wrapped in plastic). Once you identify where you’re using plastic, it’s much easier to find alternatives.
While traveling or while grabbing food locally, you can refuse single-use plastics along with plastic straws. When you begin to implement little changes, they become habitual, and soon enough you’re part of the change.
Adopt Environmentally Conscious Habits
There are some simple and easy ways to be more environmentally conscious at home! From setting up a recycle bin to a compost bin to eating less meat and dairy—these simple switches add up!
A few quick tips:
- Use natural cleaning products
- Switch to energy + water-efficient goods
- Get a reusable water bottle
- Buy local when possible
Be More Water Conscious
The way that I see the world was forever changed back in early 2018. I was just starting to get settled into my new home in Cape Town I experienced the reality of the Cape Town drought and the possibility of not having access to running water.
Since that time, I’ve adopted a number of habits to be more conscious about how I use water and how much of it I use. I go in detail about different practices you can easily adopt in this post on how to become a more water-conscious traveler.
A few quick tips:
- Extend the time between washing your hair by using dry shampoo
- Reuse towels when you can (especially at hotels)
- Skip the room cleaning when traveling
- Opt to wash clothes on cold as often as possible
Offset Your Carbon Footprint
What exactly is a carbon footprint? It’s defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to, directly and indirectly, support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide.
In other words, when you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2. The same goes for when you heat your house with oil, gas, coal, or electricity. Even the production of your food contributes to CO2 emissions.
The best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to fly less often, drive fewer miles, and avoid overheating or cooling your home. Read more about how to reduce your environmental impact while traveling.
Switch to Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Wearing sunscreen is extremely important to protect your skin, but did you know that some sunscreens cause damage to our planet’s reefs? To prevent this, making a switch to reef-safe sunscreen is an easy thing to do and better for the environment!