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Pandemic Positivity: What Will Change After COVID-19?

A World in Crisis - How Humans Cope

There is nothing like a crisis to reveal the extremes of human existence. To bring out the most beautiful and empathetic, or most deplorable and selfish acts that humanity is capable of. Fear and uncertainty bring out the best and the worst in all of us. And we can’t help but wonder… after all is said and done, what will change because of COVID-19? What might our post-pandemic world look like? And could it possibly be better than it was before?

Focus on Making Positive Change

Sometimes it takes a crisis to impart real change. We’re living in unprecedented times when a lot is being asked of a great many people who have never had to adjust to being uncomfortable in this way. Seeing how much of society reacts is kind of like watching a spoiled little kid. We have become so accustomed to living our own lives just the way we want to, often with little regard for anyone or anything else.

It’s far too easy to focus on all the negativity, however, and forget about the increasingly beautiful, compassionate, and brave response from more and more people around the world. As fear and panic increases, so too does the number of people rising up and fighting for positive change. From healthcare workers to service industry employees to caring neighbors and responsible community leaders, there is a great portion of society making strides towards a better world. And if we want to move forward and recover from this, we have to embrace the positives and focus on what we can learn from this global crisis.

There is a lesson to be learned from everything.

One of our ski coaches from Austria told me this week that she believes there will be some very big lifestyle changes in our society going forward and I hope she’s right. I’ve always believed that complacency breeds negative behavior, so instead of returning to our old ways, let’s all try to learn our lessons and change for the better!

Here are some of the positive things we hope will change because of COVID-19:

Manners and Hygiene

Hopefully, this pandemic will force everyone to use better manners when it comes to hygiene – now that ALL of us have learned how to sneeze or cough into our elbows vs. our hands, wash our hands more frequently (especially after using the bathroom) and stay home to work remotely when we have a cold or flu.

We also hope to see positive sanitary changes on a corporate and business level! Stricter regulations for restaurants and health codes or sick leave for service industry and office workers will help move us towards a healthier society and change the way we do business for the better.

Wish List: 
I personally would like to see all bathroom doors have foot handles (as they do in Europe), so you don’t have to open a door with your hands.

Working Together

Even though maintaining social distancing is the norm now, I envision a more modified version that will change individual behavior after COVID-19. Hopefully this pandemic will inspire more people to “work together” by being more respectful of each other – whether it’s in the grocery store, gas station, social events, neighborhoods or driving down the highway.

More Exercise

Now that people are taking time away from work and other social obligations, they are getting the chance to experience a morning or evening walk in the neighborhood or at a park, the woods or the mountains. Many are feeling the benefits of a consistent form of exercise for the first time in years. In a country where the obesity rates are over 40% and those who are overweight is over 70%, Americans should take this as a wake-up call to focus more on the health of our bodies. Part of our government’s anxiety with this pandemic is that our current healthcare system is maxed out dealing with obesity, cancer, diabetes and drug abuse (30% of Americans are misusing pain killers). Our bodies were meant to move, so take these daily walks or at-home workouts and continue them long after the pandemic has subsided. Your body will thank you!

Better Food Choices

During a health crisis, when we need our immune systems to help us stay healthy, it’s concerning to see the kinds of food choices people are making! What is flying off the shelves as fast as TP? Pasta, flour, meat and sugar! I don’t see too many people hoarding all the fresh fruits and veggies that are plentiful in the produce department. I understand the need to stock up on shelf-stable caloric staples, but it’s pretty hard to stay healthy living on starch with little or no nutritional content.

Our suggestion? Instead of buying the processed food that is left over at the store, let’s take this time to learn how to eat a properly balanced diet! Buy fresh produce and learn how to can or pickle it. Make your own healthy pastas or dried beans. Start a small garden. Don’t wait until a crisis is upon you before you think about building up a healthy pantry. Start today!

Wish List:
A national goal of lowering our obesity rates – especially for our youth who can have a greater impact going forward. I know they have replaced the original Presidential Fitness Test with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP), but you don’t hear much about it. National Campaigns need to be focused on the role of diet and nutrition in maintaining health. Instead of seeing a half dozen drug ads on TV during the evening news, let’s begin promoting healthy initiatives. Prevention over cure!

Innovation and Creativity

It’s become so easy to blame someone else, find an excuse for something that we believe is not right or just complain about a product or a service. Being on lockdown means we have to find creative ways to fix things that are broken, invent ways to stay active, partake in some type of art, workout at home, play a musical instrument, sort through all our crap and donate to the less fortunate. As individuals, businesses and communities, we have been forced to adapt, innovate, and overcome. These are the things that will incite positive change after COVID-19! Our society has become too complacent – content with the way things are instead of how they should be. Remember, complacency breeds negative behavior patterns.

Wish List:
Take initiative and step outside your comfort zone to do something different in your everyday life that tests your creative ability. Make it your mantra to “be better” in some way every day.

Airlines

This is not news to anyone who travels frequently. Since airline deregulation in 1978, airfares weren’t the only thing that decreased. Food quality, customer service and cleanliness became almost unbearable. Seats became smaller and closer together. Making flights accessible is a good thing, but there has definitely been consequences. It used to be that flying was fun and considered a real adventure. People dressed attractively, customer service was paramount and there were quite a few extra perks like pillows, blankets and fresh snacks. Most importantly, planes were cleaned after each trip! While all these extra amenities are nice, what is most important is safety and sanitary conditions for all passengers. We’re thrilled to see airlines beginning to clean their planes properly again!

Wish List:
Airlines should maintain the cleaning routines that are being done today to ensure a safe travel experience. This shouldn’t be just a pandemic precaution, it should be a societal imperative. (And, perhaps they’ll take a cue from social distancing and give everyone a little more legroom. 😉 I’d gladly pay extra for those two amenities alone!)

American Healthcare System

Maybe this pandemic is the catalyst that pushes our government to finally revamp our health care system. As we all know, it’s broken and disgracefully expensive for a country with technology, resources, and procedures as advanced as ours. There is no excuse for Americans needing to fly overseas to have procedures done. Currently, the only thing that holds our system afloat are our health care personnel – who are some of the best, most selfless and finest people on earth. Without their devotion and caring manner, we’d be in really tough shape. Be sure and thank them every day as they work to get us through this challenging event.

Wish List:
That the Coronavirus will finally spur Congress on to do something about our healthcare system. Regardless about how you feel about socialized medicine, or some of the proposed implementations, we can all admit that something needs to change. We don’t know what will change after COVID-19 but we hope that individuals will get involved politically and advocate for the system they feel is best to help serve our society and the individual.

What Will Change After COVID-19?

This is the real question we should be asking: What will change after COVID-19?

The answer is: It’s up to us.

The coming weeks, months, and years are still clouded by uncertainty and doubt. No one can truly predict what is coming and what the impact will be. But one thing remains clear. The things that will change are the ones that we decide to change. How we react to this as individuals and as a society will determine our future. So let us focus on the positive and decide to make a change for the better. Let us reflect on our lives and decide what we want to bring with us into this post-Coronavirus world. This is an unprecedented chance for a societal reset, and it’s up to us to seize it.

The time to act is now.

Christine Mullins

Christine Mullins

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