The global health and economic crisis brought on by the pandemic has greatly affected everyone from all over the world with no exceptions - whether you are rich or poor, big or small, young or old, the virus knows no bounds or limits. One is bound to be affected one way or another; if not health-wise, it is most likely that your pockets have run almost dry by merely trying to survive over the past few months. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has put us all in an awkward pause, and now that we are half a year into the pandemic, we’ve begun returning to our “normal” activities - leave or take some - albeit still in an awkward disposition as we have absolutely no idea what lies ahead.

In spite of all the negatives, there will always be some good that you can choose to focus on instead. If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is looking deeper into what we really need to live and survive - basically focusing on the essentials which is often, according to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince, “invisible to the eye”.

Aside from the more obvious essentials such as basic necessities (e.g. food, toiletries, etc.), people have also unlearned a lot of things that have become the norm in this world of instants. Below is a list of these things to help you visualize it better.

1. Food Preparation and Consumption

With the lack of time due to the pile of work people have to do on a daily basis, food deliveries and dining out have become prevalent as these options provide people with the convenience that they need when they want to save on time and energy. Weekdays are spent in a rush, while weekends are reserved for leisure, during which people would rather spend time visiting malls and eating good food from their favorite restaurants instead of using their energy to cook at home. Understandable, really, since a 5-day work week can potentially drain perhaps about 90% of your physical and mental energy.

Over the past few months, people have been stuck at home under mandatory quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. During this time, many of our favorite restaurants are unavailable for both dine-in and, in some cases, even for delivery and takeaway. With this, people have opted to do some cooking at home instead and recreate their favorite drinks and dishes from their favorite restaurants.

One example of this is the whipped coffee craze, more popularly tagged as the Dalgona Challenge. With coffee shops closed as compliance to quarantine protocols, people have begun exploring ways to bring their favorite drinks at home. A myriad of recipes have also surfaced online for no-bake cheesecakes, homemade pizza and ice cream, and even that fried chicken from your favorite fast-food restaurant.

What was first a way for people to cope with the tough time brought by the global health and economic crisis, eventually became a hobby and a new norm. Some have opted to continue making good home cooked food even as society has begun opening up, while some saw an opportunity to turn their cooking and baking skills into a business. With more and more people eager to support local businesses to aid their respective communities during the economic crisis, these small home businesses have seen a rise in the past few months, and nobody’s complaining. It’s practically a win for all parties involved, after all.

For small business owners, it may be too much to hire full-time employees to help them with their daily operations. This is where virtual assistant services come in, where these business owners can choose the perfect task-based or time-based plans and wait for the experts to match them with the online personal assistant that fits not only their needs, but their budget as well. There are a myriad of virtual assistant service providers available, one of which is OkayRelax.

2. Health and Safety Measures

Prior to the pandemic, constantly sanitizing and washing your hands depended on each person’s personal hygiene. Now, both have become mandatory on top of wearing face masks and face shields, and disinfecting common spaces and items that have been exposed outside. When looking at it from this perspective, it seems like too much work, isn’t it?

But when you really think about it, it actually makes sense to maintain proper hygiene, especially when going out and visiting public areas. Essentially, the pandemic merely reminded us to practice good and proper hygiene, which people would hopefully carry on until after the virus has disappeared. Lessening the transmission of virus and bacteria even post-pandemic would also mean less exposure to disease-causing particles, eventually leading to a healthier society.

3. Quality Time With the Family

Quality time with the family pre-pandemic was often reserved on weekends, with weekdays being loaded with too much time and energy spent on work and commute. With daily commutes being stripped off from the equation, people now have more time and energy to spend on their families after clocking off from work.

More than the additional time people can spend with their families during weekdays, weekends are also spent better with people looking for more fun activities to do with their children at home since mall hops and walks in the park are no longer safe options.

Some parents who prefer maximizing their time both at work and at home turn to virtual assistant service providers to delegate mundane tasks, giving them enough leeway on time to focus on what matters to them most. Apart from administrative tasks and the likes, virtual assistants can also provide you with a list of activity recommendations that are age-appropriate for you and your kids. This could perhaps be an option that would not only benefit you personally, but also professionally should you need someone to handle redundant tasks for you at work.

4. Lifestyle

With the idea of a global health threat lingering on, people have also begun limiting their alcohol and tobacco intake, shifting to a healthier diet, regularly exercising, getting enough sleep, and basically driving towards a healthier lifestyle to build up and strengthen their immune systems to help their bodies combat the virus. The aforementioned are basically the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle, and are perhaps the best ways to shield your body against any disease.

There are many things you can do to shift towards a healthier lifestyle, some of which are the following.

Exercise, Eat, and Rest Well

Despite being quarantined at home and practicing proper social distancing, there are many ways for you to continue moving your body and keeping yourself fit and healthy, such as walking or jogging up and down the stairs, brisk walking in your backyard, stationary biking, and balance boarding. These activities have been proven to bring about positive effects on your body, especially your immune system, as it encourages an enhanced flow of your blood and immune cells that are essential to help you combat the virus and reduce the risk of you contracting any form of disease.

You can also move towards eating healthier by focusing more on plant-based and fermented foods, as well as yogurt, which can all help in nurturing good bacteria. Pair this with a good night’s sleep and you can expect your immune system to get significantly stronger in the coming weeks.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

The pandemic can’t be an easy time for anyone, much more so when you are forced to make abrupt changes in your life all at once. While employing a healthier lifestyle can be a challenge, especially for those who have gotten used to a pressure-filled lifestyle where practically everything has to be provided in an instant, it is also important to prioritize your mental health and wellness above all else.

Transitioning into an entirely different lifestyle isn’t a walk in the park, and if you’re experiencing some trouble along the way, it’s important to remember not to beat yourself up about it and focus instead on taking small, significant steps that would bring you closer to your goal.

You don’t have to do everything in a snap, and there is absolutely no need for you to wrack your brains for ideas on how to take care of your mental health. Even a simple hearty meal made by your partner, a much-awaited video call with your parents and your best friend, or discovering a new skill or hobby you enjoy can do wonders for your mental well-being. It doesn’t have to be anything big; it just has to be something that takes your mind off stressful events, and something you particularly enjoy.

There is no need to feel guilty about taking time off work to relax and get some well-deserved break. Cut yourself some slack, and you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you could even become once you’ve gotten that wonderful rest that you need.

Remote Work

While we have indeed gone back to the basics, we have also noticeably transitioned into the digital age where practically almost everything can be done remotely. With this, remote work has been on the rise and continues to become a more permanent option for companies all over the world. This is where two opposing ideas meet: the traditional and modern.

Employing basic practices in our lives and adopting new ones is a sign of progress that cannot be denied. With the sudden shift to digital, more and more people and companies realize the many advantages that the digital age can offer, bringing about convenience to many. While we are all experiencing a strange time in our lives, it’s exciting to think about the potential of a future where traditional and digital have merged to form a more effective and efficient society.