5 Quarantine Habits I’d Like to Keep Post-Pandemic

In 2014, while panicking about college graduation, I saw an Instagram caption with the quote, “The only constant in life is change.” It sounds cliché, I know, but it’s been a guiding light for me throughout this quarantine. 

When the two-week stay-at-home order was put in place in March 2020, no one could have predicted a year-long global pandemic. I lost both of my jobs, my industry shut down, and seeing friends in person was just not safe. For the first time ever, I was completely alone with my thoughts with little ability to distract myself. With the extra time for reflection, I soon found myself confronting how I was living my life before and during the pandemic.  

Pre-quarantine, I was “living to work” and I didn’t really know who I was without my career. In addition to being a writer, I’m an actor and kid’s acting teacher; and I saw my work in both areas disappear. After three months of drinking too much wine, staying up until 3 a.m., and only going outside once every two weeks, I saw that quote pop up again on my Instagram feed. It forced me to confront my current circumstances and recognize some unhealthy habits that were hard to break. 

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Now, almost a year into the pandemic, I am in a much better place mentally and physically than I was at the beginning. Here are five quarantine habits I plan to continue post-pandemic. 

Weekly therapy sessions

I have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which I had been able to function with, but when the pandemic hit, my anxiety spiked. I was having a harder time doing my daily routines and even getting out of bed. I finally decided to tackle that head-on. After looking on Talkspace and Better Help, I found my therapist through a search portal on Psychology Today

Thanks to regular therapy, I have more tools to live with my anxiety. I am also generally happier, so I plan to continue therapy long-term. Even if you don’t have a specific issue you want to work through, having someone to touch base with weekly is a game-changer. Why “just function” when you can thrive?

Daily movement

I used to be a person who thought, if I don’t have time for an hour workout, what’s the point? Talk about setting myself up for failure! I purchased a fairly cheap foldable exercise bike on Amazon and put it right next to my couch. This way, while I catch up on my TV shows, I can sit on the bike and pedal for a bit! On days where I skip my daily movement, I notice I am jittery and restless the next day. 

It doesn’t always have to be a rigorous workout to lift my spirits and get my blood pumping. Even if my days get super busy again post-pandemic, I hope to wake up 30 minutes early to take a walk or hop on my bike for 15 minutes. 

Produce delivery

Some of the author’s “imperfect” sweet potatoes.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I ventured out once every two weeks to do all my errands before quickly returning home. Then, I started using the Imperfect Foods delivery service and it’s changed my life! I order groceries weekly from my couch,  selecting from an array of items that would have otherwise been thrown out. It’s a nice way to get slightly cheaper produce, help with food waste, and stay out of the grocery stores. A funky looking sweet potato is still a sweet potato, y’all.

To do or not to do lists

Yes, that is a Shakespeare reference. In addition to being a theater nerd, I’ve always been hyper-organized. If I don’t have a to-do list, I will literally forget everything I have to do. One amendment that I’ve made to this routine during quarantine is to write my to-do list the night before and then not amend it the next day. If I finish all my tasks earlier than expected, I cannot add anything to the list. I must just relax and do whatever my body, mind or soul wants to do. This leaves time for rediscovering hobbies and passions! Relaxing was really hard pre-pandemic, so I hope to keep this up so I can continue to enjoy my new hobbies: biking and doing puzzles! 

Reading

As a child, I was an avid reader. I’m honestly not sure why I stopped, but since I’ve had so much time during quarantine, I got a library card and decided to prioritize reading again. Not having to spend a lot of money on books makes reading even more exciting. Also, I’ve found that I fall asleep much faster when the last thing I look at is a book instead of my screen.

To be completely transparent, I’m a little nervous that I will forget how important these habits are to me once theaters are open again and I get back to the “New York Grind.” According to psychologists, it takes, on average, two months to form a new habit, which is helpful to keep in mind as we’re adding new things into our routines. We can do it; I believe in us.

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Arielle Beth Klein is an NYC-based creative. As an actor, she's performed off-broadway and regionally. As a writer she’s a produced playwright and poet. On days off you can catch Arielle with her dog in nature and/or eating french fries at literally any establishment.