Now that we have passed the one-year mark since life changed dramatically, I started thinking about habits that some of my clients fell into during COVID. While many of these were understandable in the chaotic and scary first few months, they are not serving them well anymore.
Like many, my client Mark started drinking alcohol much more frequently in the early days of COVID. While he used to be a social drinker, we realized that somewhere along the way he started drinking about two glasses of wine every day – which is roughly 1,600 extra calories per week! Because his eating is relatively healthy and he has still been exercising, the extra alcohol calories weren’t causing him to gain weight. They were, however, probably the culprit for why he stopped losing weight.
Mark decided he didn’t want to rely on alcohol every night to relax; he wanted to get back to only having some on the weekends. We decided he would cut back to one glass a night for two weeks, and then work on cutting it out entirely on weeknights from there. Since alcohol was acting as a stress reliever, it was critical to put other deliberate coping mechanisms in its place. Mark decided that every night before cooking dinner, he would do a 10-minute meditation. Instead of watching the news while he cooked, he would instead listen to music or entertainment podcasts. This way, he would still get stress relief but not the extra calories.
My client Kara was also having trouble losing weight. Like Mark, we looked for where the extra calories might be coming from. For Kara, it was extra indulgences when she ordered takeout. When restaurants shut down and Kara started ordering takeout more frequently, she might order a salad and French fries, because she felt the need to indulge. Kara realized that pre-COVID, she never would have ordered takeout French fries, but it was a habit that stuck around. Kara decided that she would make list of reasonable takeout options and stick to that moving forward.
When he shifted from his office to working from home last year, my client Jeff started staying up too late. Since he didn’t have to commute to work anymore, he rationalized staying up later and sleeping in. Jeff hasn’t been able to institute a regular bedtime or sleep routine for himself over the last year. He often stays up late snacking in the evening.
Jeff acknowledged that this habit wasn’t working for him anymore, and he was ready to reinstate a regular bedtime. Not only would this ensure he got enough sleep, but it meant he wouldn’t be up too late snacking. He would once again be able to get up early enough to exercise in the morning – a habit he had in place for years and helped him thrive.
If you’ve let some bad COVID habits creep in, now is the time to reevaluate them! It’s been over a year, so it’s high time to make sure your habits are working for you, not against you