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For years. routine after routine has kept us busy and complacent, away from the spontaneity and curiosity that we once knew as children. When COVID-19 made its way into our lives, many of us learned that adopting new habits would be key to survival. What we didn’t know is taking these habits along with us would also help us thrive. 


Moving On Strong: How COVID-19 Helped Us To Change For The Better

We are coming around a year and a half since the world changed before our eyes. With restrictions and “stay-at-home” orders imposed on us, we stood united as responsible citizens, navigating this strange new journey, learning new things about ourselves as we go. While we may have felt limited in many ways, the circumstances and hardships we faced as both individuals and society afforded us the opportunity to grow, expand our knowledge, and show us just how resilient we truly are.

Whether we liked it or not, this was a major event that changed us all in some way, and in many instances, the change was for the better. As things begin looking a bit more like their former self, it is important that we don’t forget the lessons that we have learned and the positive aspects that have taken place in the past year. Adopting our new healthy habits more permanently and enjoying life to the fullest will help us on our journey.

Here are just a few of the changes we can reflect on, learn from, and practice in our many tomorrows.

Appreciating Nature
Over the past year, with activities and stores closing their doors, many of us took to discovering Ottawa’s green space, parks, beaches, and other outdoor spaces and ecosystems. This time allowed us to connect with nature once again and experience the beauty in the world around us. When life gets busy, we tend to forget how fascinating this city can be in its most natural form. It’s important going forward to take the time to breathe in the fresh air and discover the outdoors by hiking, riding bicycles, taking a jog, swimming, or camping underneath the stars.

Adopting More Active Lifestyles
When spending such significant amounts of time indoors, many people found their daily habits were unhealthy, and that living a more sedentary lifestyle was not good for their physical and mental health and wellness. This triggered people to get creative to stay active whenever and wherever they could. Engaging in physical activity sets a good example for children, and allows for us to live a lifestyle that will support our bodies and minds throughout the years to come.

Self Care and Mental Health Awareness

Being more aware of our mental health is also something we can adopt more permanently. Mental health was a huge topic over the past year. Many of us felt isolated, physically inactive, stressed, and being subjected to the media every day discussing gruesome statistics did not help matters. Today we are likely more in tune to our mental well-being than ever before. Continuing to be mindful of how we feel day to day and knowing when we need to indulge in a little TLC or self-care will help to ensure we are feeling our best as we move on.

Supporting Small Businesses

When businesses were forced to shut their doors, many of our favourite local shops lost a great deal of income while big box stores thrived. As we navigate the next chapters of our lives we must not forget the importance of supporting small businesses and how these shops support our local economy. We know that Walmart and Amazon can make it through a pandemic, so focus more of your energy buying the quality products that small business owners spend countless hours making available to their customers and community. The customer service is unmatched, and the benefits to the local economy are in abundance. 

Checking In On One Another 

When life gets busy, many of us simply don’t find the time to pick up the phone and call a friend we haven’t spoken to in a while. The conversations can be long, and there are often things we need to get done that distract us from connecting with others. The past year allowed us the time and forethought needed to retrain our brains to slow down and check in on each other once in a while. Social media is great for so many things, but it doesn’t offer us the same type of connection as a phone call or quick visit used to.

Taking Care Of Our Homes
Lastly, this past year we learned that our homes are our very own escape from the world. Where we live is more than just walls, a roof and a splash of paint. It’s a place we retreat when we need quiet, or gather when we need friends. Its walls are a reflection of our style, our life, our past and our present. We need to stop taking that for granted and care for our homes as we care for ourselves to make it a place that you feel good to live in, work in, and play in.

Moving forward, I hope that we remember to appreciate the little things and enjoy life to the fullest. This has been a momentous year, and being as mindful as we can about how our lives have changed for the better will help us to continue to overcome what we may have looked at as setbacks and persevere throughout the next phases of this journey. 


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