7 Good Habits I Picked Up During the Pandemic

young man sitting in nature painting

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times, it was a time of disbelief, it was a time of hope, it was a time of media noise, it was a time of personal quiet, it was the spring of not going anywhere, it was the summer of reading everything.

The pandemic is by no means over, but now that the situation is better in at least some countries, I can look back on the last 16 months or so and see some of the good that came out them.


It all started with a yoga mat with poses illustrated on it. Now, I’m not doing the sun salutation or headstands. Nor do I have any aspirations to contort my body into semi-indecent poses like you see on the covers of yoga magazines. But I do yoga at least 3 times a week and it’s quietly wonderful.

Yoga, I’ve come to believe, is not some new age nonsense, but a simple way to appreciate your body and feel at ease in it.


I’ve always meant to penpal but never got around to doing it–until the pandemic. Now I’m happy to say I have penpals around the world.

Getting to know someone like that, from a distance, one word at a time, one wait at a time, can be special. More than acquiring new perspectives, it’s an opportunity to see yourself reflected in another’s curiosity.

Essential Oils

Sitting in my room writing and reading, I felt that something was missing. Not love, no, it felt good being a hermit, at least for a bit longer. And then it struck me–my room looked the way I wanted it to look, but didn’t smell of anything.

I got a simple aromatherapy lamp and half a dozen essential oils, and now I’m slowly discovering, one by one, the wonderful world of natural scents, plants and trees, and another form of quiet wisdom I didn’t pay attention to before.


I haven’t traveled lately, but then I didn’t feel the need to. I owe that to the garden. There was a greenhouse to set up, and soil to prepare, and vegetables to plant and water, and other green things to do.

Something about soil on your hands that doesn’t make your hands feel dirty. On the contrary, it enriches them.


How can I have been living for so long not knowing the simple pleasure of oatmeal with nuts and forest fruit and cranberries and bananas and cinnamon, and a bit, just a bit of honey?

Raising Dogs

I may have lost a cat–Manoli hasn’t showed up in months. But I gained Mozo and Beto, two furry four-leggers who more than once kept me awake at night with their maddening barking are good at being what they are, young dogs.

PS: Not so furry these days, since they got a trim and now are wearing summer coats.

Living in the Present

With few goings out and distractions, it was easier to return to my breathing, to meditation, to the small and simple everyday pleasures of life. To the present moment, the here and the now.

To seeing things as they are and appreciating them for that, not wanting to change them in any way.

I hope to continue inhabiting the present long after the world readjusts itself to a new normal, and myself with it.

Painting: Futur-Simple (c) Azucena

3 thoughts on “7 Good Habits I Picked Up During the Pandemic

  1. You will learn interesting new things from your young dogs. Especially memorable will be events that transpire when you are trying to organise the dogs for social events with other people visiting. Dogs have very interesting conceptual understanding of embarrasment for example – you may have read my blog story – … on seaweeds – https://lichenfoxie.com/2014/10/30/ardgillan-writers-group-blog-ii/
    and exhibit matter of factness and grace in such situations. Tending to plants and aromas around the home are important habits to experiment with. Trust you other writing is going well, and the short story format you pioneered is working as well for you now in longer pieces. Your vocabulary can be stretched by doing new specialist things – in science, veterinary care, cookery, or other things that you become interested in through your prodigious reading. All the best, H

  2. Inspiring. So much has been said about the pandemic that could only be totted on the ‘negative’ side of the equation. So nice to hear of the positives. And there are plenty. In particular, for me: getting in touch with myself. I have been buried for too long under a mountain of ‘need-to-dos’ and ‘place-to-bes’. I’ve had my rest and my stretch and I’m ready to get moving once again…

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