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20 COVID life pivots we’d like to keep

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2020 has been a year of reckoning.

But we reckon there are certain things that have come out of a global pandemic that are worth hanging onto—even when the threat of a killer virus is over.

Here are our top 20 COVID pivots that have shown us the brighter, slower side of life.

Time

Time has been the greatest gift, even though it was shocking to watch the world ground to a virtual stand-still. Slowing down, taking stock, and narrowing our focus way, way down (to immediate family and the four walls of the family home in most cases) has resulted in a less harried existence for so many of us.

Note to future self: There’s no need to speed things up to the way we were before —most of us were over-committed and are breathing a sigh of relief. Really.

#WFH

What’s not to love about ditching the usual morning hustle for rolling out of bed and zooming in your pyjama bottoms (and something marginally more ambitious on top)?

Also, bosses have genuinely recognised that workers can be just as—if not more—productive from their living rooms than their desk pod.

Note to future self: Maintain those flexible work arrangements despite the inevitable tug of the office.

Eating out—only in

One of the most heartening parts of COVID has been seeing our hospitality industry pivot, invent and adapt to our ‘new normal’.

Getting deliveries from companies such as Canberra Eats, or picking up a restaurant meal to share at home has redefined the restaurant experience. And really, we’ve been spoiled for choice—from Mr Papa to Lazy Su, Brodburger, Ramen Daddy, Rizla and Temporada.

Note to future self: Keep ordering from your favourite restaurants while you can’t get a seat because of physical distancing requirements. They are going to need our support for a long time to come.

Cooking up a storm

Who hasn’t pulled out at least one new and adventurous dish while in iso? We’ve rediscovered our love of being in the kitchen and mealtimes have become an anticipated part of each day.

Note to future self: It is often cheaper, healthier and more creative to have a crack at it yourself. Don’t lose your mojo.

Baking

Sourdough, Three Mills Bakery croissants delivered to our door—you name it, if it’s got carbs, we are on it.

Note to future self: Don’t ever forget how good your house smells when you bake.

Pick-ups of a different kind

How much fun has Pialligo Estate’s Market Grocer been? And how easy is Canberra Centre’s Order and Collect?

We appreciate that our lives have been made more convenient (and safer) in so many ways. Also, is there any more joyous sound or smell than when the Husk Bakery van pulls into your street laden with fresh bread, pies and sweet treats?

Note to future self: If you want flexibility in your purchasing, support it when it is offered.

Flexible fitness

Ever been too intimidated to exercise or take a dance class? Now you can get your funk and fitness fix online, and (let’s be honest) it might be a good time to do a little exercise after all the baking.

From Dance Central’s online dance classes to the plethora of providers who generously offered free classes through our Keep ACTIVE series, there’s been a wide world of fitness out there for the taking.

Note to future self: If you practice enough in iso, there may come a day you’ll happily dance in the streets and impress the hell out of everyone.

The great, wide outdoors

So many Canberrans have forced themselves outside to discover their own neighbourhoods or many of the incredible walking, lakeside and bush trails that we are blessed to have.

Note to future self: Make a daily walk a habit, come rain, hail or shine.

Hey, neighbour!

Have you reached out or been reached out to by your neighbours? A groundswell of community spirit has brought so many of us together and new friendships have been formed. Let’s stay in touch!

Note to future self: Organise that street party.

Scruba-dub-dub

No excuses—let’s all wash our hands one more time. The clean freaks among us are truly rejoicing. And hygiene levels are pleasing.

Note to future self: Remember that all germs hate soap, not just during this particular pandemic.

Traffic

Look, we are not complaining about Canberra’s peak-minute, which is far less onerous than big-city traffic jams. But even still—how nice is it to see less traffic on the roads? And to get a park when you need one!

Note to future self: Do you really need to drive as much as you used to? Smell that beautiful clean air and walk more.

Netflix and…everything

Let’s give a moment’s thanks for streaming services in general.

Where once we were too busy to sit and watch something engrossing, now we are immersing ourselves in new content (The Bureau, Unorthodox, The Beach) and getting back into the classics (The Wire, Breaking Bad, Friends).

Note to future self: If you missed it first time around, here is your chance to go back! Watch with intention. Challenge your tastes

Books, beautiful books

Delivered to your door. And time to turn the pages. There has never been a better time for bibliophiles.

Not to future self: If you are too busy to read, you are too busy. Full stop.

Credit: Sephora Scott.

Lazy, leisurely lunches

Who has enjoyed the chance to have a long and leisurely lunch with family while we have been hunkered down at home? We have managed to cook a few fancy dishes by midday and got the kids to the table. It feels oh so European.

Note to future self: Make a habit of regular family lunches.

Hey! Teachers! Please don’t leave those kids alone

Some of us (parents and students) are still a bit PTSD about our 10 weeks of home learning. But we can all agree that our teachers to an outstanding job—and we’re all heading back with a much better idea of what it is our children are expected to learn.

Call it an enforced bout of parental engagement, but it has been nothing if not enlightening.

Note to future self: Thank your teachers always and support their work in your home.

Health workers

Praise be our nurses, doctors and all those health professionals who have worked ceaselessly through the last few months. May we all now truly value your worth.

Note to future self: Support appropriate pay rates for our front-line workers. Value them with kind words and deeds. They were there for all of us.

And on that same note—scientists

You speak, we listen. COVID-19 has elevated the esteem of scientists the world over. It wasn’t that long ago that these clever folk were the subject of climate change scepticism.

Note to future self: Let’s keep paying attention to the experts. Because they are.

Influencers

No matter how fabulous you think you are, you’re stuck at home like the rest of us. Who hasn’t re-evaluated the vacuous existence of some of our biggest Instagram names once the jets are grounded and the lifestyle is contained to the same rooms each day?

Likewise, how much better have we gotten to know Instagrammers whose beliefs really do align with our own—through their cooking, their online learning pains and their #wfh humour.

Note to future self: Unfollow. Be influenced by people with substance.

Travel

We aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so it’s time to look to look inwards for travel inspo.

Australia’s tourism industry needs all the help it can get—and we have the opportunity to see part of this country we never knew existed.

Note to future self: Prioritise your list of Australian destinations and book in advance. It is going to get busy!

Jervis Bay. Credit: Tim Bean Photography.

Random acts of kindness

Because we have all been socially isolating, human interactions have taken on a greater sense of importance—even those with random strangers.

We seem to be smiling more, talking more openly and taking a genuine interest in the well-being of others.

Note to future self: If COVID has brought out our compassionate side, let’s not lose it when life returns to normal.

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