COVID-19 has changed the way I interact with the world and how I perceive it. I had coronavirus symptoms back in October, and it wasn’t nice at all. I was more concerned for the vulnerable people I lived with, so I decided to do everything I can to protect everyone from experiencing this again. As a result, I started having a few odd pandemic habits. Here’s some of them:
1. Using large amounts of hand sanitizer
I used to keep a small bottle in my backpack before the pandemic broke out, but I admit I didn’t use it much. I just washed my hands if I was at university or eating out, which was pretty much it. Now, I always keep my hand sanitizer close and use it after I’m done shopping, after I get in the car, before replacing my mask – you get the idea.
2. Buying only packed food
A study from March 2020 says that the virus survives on plastic and steel surfaces for days, and it’s got me thinking. Therefore, I’ve started buying only packed or canned food. What’s even crazier is that I wash the package with water and soap before putting them into the fridge. I don’t actually know if this kills the virus or not, but I feel like washing the dirt away is a good thing.
Even the idea of unpacked pastry products or delivery food makes me twitch. Somebody in the food industry told me that they were forced to work even if they had COVID-19 symptoms, so this is why I mostly stick to the homemade cuisine.
3. Disinfecting all day long
I bet most of us didn’t think about wiping their devices, doorknobs, light switches, and pretty much every surface with sanitary alcohol. Well, look at me now, acquiring a set of random pandemic habits that are more or less effective! Here’s what I do:
Firstly, I put disinfectant on my doormat to leave any germs outside before coming into the house. Secondly, I spray my hands with hand sanitizer, remove the mask, remove my jacket, etc. and get about my day.
Suppose I don’t have any hand disinfectant available. In that case, I open the bathroom door with my elbows to properly wash my hands. Honestly, I do this elbow-thing to amuse myself. I figured there’s nothing wrong with practicing mobility. I have become pretty good at opening cabinets and whatnot with my feet while balancing stuff in my arms.
Every time I go out, I keep track of how many surfaces I touch, if they had been cleaned before or if I need to wash my hands. If I hear somebody sneezing or coughing, I head in the opposite direction; the same goes for people who still don’t wear a mask.
On the rare occasions where I don’t wear a mask (like a short walk at night), I still cover my face with a scarf and cross the street if I see a group of people approaching.
Hypervigilance is the most tricky one from my list of pandemic habits. There’s a thin line between being careful and becoming anxious, especially when many things are out of our control. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I step back, go to a place that feels safe to me, take deep breaths and remind myself that my worries are legit but not necessarily realistic.
5. I changed my daily routine
I usually do indoor activities in the first part of the day, then go for walks or shopping around 8-9 p.m. to avoid crowded places. Most people are already at home during this time, since it’s still cold in our area.
This last one on my list of weird pandemic habits was the easiest because I always considered myself a night owl. I enjoy spending time outside at night this time of the year, but the only thing that’s missing is the snow.
These pandemic habits might sound crazy to some, but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Judging by the vaccination rate in my area, it will be a while until I’ll finally get my shot. In the meantime, I’ll abide by my pandemic habits and try not to catch the virus (again) for my own and my loved ones’ sake.