Quarantine has placed a magnifying glass on our daily habits—the good, the bad, and the ugly. But along with highlighting habits we’d like to change, social distancing has forced us to forgo many of the day-to-day habits we cherish. Can’t spend an hour commuting into work on a packed train? No problem. Can’t get your hair cut for three months? That’s a problem.
However, when we’re forced to adapt to a different lifestyle, we might realize that certain habits shouldn’t lie so high on our priority lists—or even be on them at all. Losing access to things we’re used to, whether it’s services (like those sacred haircuts), structures (a 9-to-5 office life), or people (friends or coworkers)—shows us whether we really want them in our lives after all. From over-scheduling and not allowing time for spontaneity to tolerating friends who take more than they give, these are the pre-quarantine habits that HelloGiggles editors are kicking to the curb post-quarantine.
Spending money on bi-monthly gel manicures
Before quarantine, I was a die-hard gel manicure fan. Twice a month, like clockwork, I headed to the nail salon to refresh my gel mani, handing over $60 in cash each time. Writing that dollar amount makes me cringe today, two months into quarantine. Or, put differently: four missed gel manicure appointments later.
Having had naked nails for two months and counting, I’ve realized that I was wasting my money on gel manicures. I can easily paint my own nails or apply press-on kits at home. Sure, they won’t last quite as long as a gel manicure, and I’m not as skilled as a professional, but the effect—making me feel put-together when I look down at my hands while typing all day long—is the same. After quarantine, I might treat myself to a gel manicure every now and then, but for the most part, I’m committing to saving that $120 a month and opting for cheaper alternatives.
– Claire Harmeyer, assistant editor
Tolerating toxic friendships
It’s an old cliché that you really never know who is there for you until shit hits the fan, but I’ve found that to be so true in quarantine. The people who love me and are lovely have really stepped forward and shown themselves. And because time now feels so precious, I want to devote my energy to those who I know care about me. So I’m giving up having casual friendships with people I find draining—whether that’s because of their negativity or their end goals.
That doesn’t mean I’ll stop approaching strangers at parties and making new friends. It just means that I’m promising myself I’ll never say “yes” again to drinks with someone who I can tell doesn’t want to have a reciprocal exchange of care and respect with me. You know the kind; they’re everywhere in New York. Maybe that’s hippie-dippie, but life feels too short, especially after this pandemic, to invest in people who take more than they give.
— Danielle Fox, social media manager
Scheduling every hour of every day
As someone who thrives on organization and routine, I’ve had to learn to be more flexible in quarantine. Pre-coronavirus (COVID-19), I would essentially map out every hour of my day so I could “check all the boxes”: work, after-work event, workout, dinner, etc. But this quarantine has proved that method to leave little room for human error.
After the first few weeks of keeping copious to-do lists just to give my workdays (and weekends) a little more structure, I realized I wasn’t allowing myself the necessary time and space just to breathe and deal with whatever complicated emotions this whole situation brought up. And if I was being honest, the to-do lists were exhausting me. I think it’s good to crave structure and order sometimes, but I now recognize that it’s okay to let up on the pressure I put on myself to get it all done. Moving forward, I’m going to embrace spontaneity and give myself more wiggle room to live in the moment.
— Mackenzie Dunn, SEO content writer
Skipping lunch breaks
My not-so-cute habit pre-quarantine was that I would sometimes forget to eat lunch or drink adequate amounts of water during the work day. As I transitioned to working from home full time, I noticed that this habit was only getting worse. With less obvious breaks in the day and no coworkers asking if anyone needed to go grab lunch, I would suddenly look up from my computer at 3 p.m. feeling hungry, dehydrated, and in a haze. So I’m officially declaring that unacceptable behavior and making it a point to schedule a lunch break on my calendar and meet goals for my water intake every day. Slowing down has forced me to see how important it is to listen to my body, and I’m going to continue to prioritize my well-being, even as life starts to speed up again.
– Morgan Noll, editorial assistant
Focusing on future plans rather than present moments
I’ve known for awhile that my tendency to focus much more on the future than the present isn’t always the best, but the pandemic really showed just how detrimental that mindset could be. In the past, I’d constantly rush through my days waiting for the next “big” thing to happen (a celebration, a relationship or career milestone, a vacation, etc.) and would feel hugely disappointed if those events didn’t happen at their scheduled times.
Now, though, I not only understand that even the best-laid plans can (and often do) get changed for reasons outside of your control, I’m much more at peace with that fact. I’m focusing now on embracing the present far more than I previously did. I can still look forward to things in the future, of course, but I’ve realized how much better it feels to actually be in the moment and not rush through life because of whatever’s around the corner.
– Rachel Simon, deputy editor
Going clothes shopping every season
Before the pandemic, I had the habit of refreshing my wardrobe each season by adding some new items to my closet. While I hardly ever went crazy or did a full wardrobe overhaul, I was spending a decent amount of money on clothing items I pretty much already had. In many ways, I did this to treat myself and get myself excited about the season ahead. Now, though, buying new clothes seems a bit pointless. While I did get some light linens to wear indoors this summer, the impulse to catch all the sales and buy everything new really wasn’t there. Even after this quarantine ends, I’m going to be more mindful about the things I already have in my closet before I make any plans to restock.
– Kristin Magaldi, features editor
Not prioritizing connecting with long-distance friends
Before the pandemic, I would talk to my friends from Florida (my home state) every now and then on the phone. I would never FaceTime them—only call them a few times a month, and text a few times a week. It was a habit I was comfortable with because I always felt like I was on the go. But now that things have slowed down, I realize that this habit doesn’t work. My connection with my friends means a lot to me, and I realize that now more than ever, when I can no longer be in their lives in a safe manner.
Moving forward, I’m going to kick the habit of not making face-to-face time a priority with them. I’m going to FaceTime them more often and connect with them more on a weekly basis instead of letting text messages fall under the radar for weeks on end. Because life is too short not to keep those you love closer, even when life feels like it’s flying by.
— Raven Ishak, senior lifestyle editor
Always being “on”
I’ve been in a different position during quarantine, as I’ve worked from home for years and years by this point. But I’ve gotten a new perspective on the WFH life as I’ve watched colleagues, friends, and family grapple with new working conditions—those fortunate to still have jobs right now. So, the habit I’m breaking post-quarantine is always being “on.”
When your office is your home—sometimes your kitchen table, sometimes your actual desk, and sometimes your bed, let’s be honest—you can get trapped in the practice of always working in one way or another. As I’ve watched others create new routines around working, I’ve realized that, after many years, it’s time to re-evaluate mine. Now, my laptop is closed and my phone is down when the workday is done—at least, I’m working on it!
— Caitlin White, news editor
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, HelloGiggles is committed to providing accurate and helpful coverage to our readers. As such, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.