5 Things We're Going to Keep Doing After the Pandemic Ends
Most of us will want to forget about the pandemic once it ends.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought so much sadness, anxiety, change and loss. We want to move on from this mess as quickly as possible and not look back. However, as challenging as these times have been, they have also brought many lessons. Most importantly, we've learned that we need to take care of ourselves, our friends and our community better. While there are many things we will take from this experience, we've narrowed down five things that we should keep doing even after the pandemic is over.
Wearing a Mask in Public When You're Sick
The CDC recommends that we wear face masks in public to protect ourselves and others. The CDC says, "Masks are an additional step to help prevent people from getting and spreading COVID-19. They provide a barrier that keeps respiratory droplets from spreading." Everyone is excited for the day that we can safely enter public without wearing a mask (and no more maskne!), but don't throw away your mask yet! Wearing a face-covering when you feel sick is a great way to prevent the spread of sickness. It would be best if you stayed home when you are sick but keep a mask around for those times you have to leave your home even when you have a cold.
Before the pandemic, numerous schools and workplaces would not allow people to learn or work from home. These institutions denied many people with disabilities or individuals facing exceptional circumstances the ability to work from home. Educational institutions and workplaces made a quick change during the pandemic and immediately offered at-home options. While most people are excited to get back to their school and workplace, this should remain an accessible option for those who need it. We now know that accommodations can be made to help people, so there's no reason to reverse these changes.
Practicing Protective Hygiene Habits
We have never been more aware of keeping ourselves safe. We've adopted many hygiene habits and practiced them diligently. While some of these habits are basic, like washing our hands, there are some that we may not have considered, like sanitizing our phones every day. It's essential to incorporate these habits into our daily lives because some of these practices are just good to keep us safe from other viruses, like the flu, all year round.
Keep Talking About Mental Health
Mental health has been the focus of many conversations. We've all experienced emotional distress during the pandemic. More people are talking about mental health and finding ways to offer support. This new awareness is fantastic, but we need to continue the conversation, even when the safety measures are lifted. Many people will feel much better when the worst of the pandemic has passed, but those struggling with mental health problems can't walk away from their struggles. Furthermore, people who don't cope with mental illness will still face emotional distress in other situations. We need to find ways to support each other and continue to raise awareness of the importance of mental health.
Respecting Essential and Health Care Workers
From the moment the pandemic took hold of this country, essential and health care workers have kept our communities together. Essential workers like grocery store workers, public transit workers, U.S. Postal Service Workers, electricians and pharmacists have kept crucial operations running. Health care workers like doctors and nurses have dealt with an overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients while also helping non-COVID related health problems. Both groups have faced severe challenges and put themselves in danger. There's a general acknowledgement that workers, from grocery store workers to nurses, are an important and indispensable part of our society. They deserve our respect and support because they have supported us. We can't forget them when we move on from this pandemic.
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