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  • Chris Budde-Petch

Covid-19 Check In - New Habits

Updated: May 7, 2020

What have you all been doing as you grapple with the new, weird world that covid-19 has brought us to? Daily walk? Spending more time with the children? Reading some of those books that have been collected over the years? Learned to knit? Wood-work? Write a book? I have been doing a lot more reading for pleasure, rather than always picking up a work related book. I have also enjoyed being out side a lot more. And I started to learn to how to sew!! I have a short sleeve shirt project, which is in progress as we speak, that will look good this summer.

To help cope with the new reality, and to ease the stress caused by the restrictions to our lives, there has been an avalanche of helpful videos on a myriad of subjects. The choice has been enormous. But amongst this massive amount of helpful ideas, there are, no doubt, one or two that have piqued your interest; one or two that you have adopted on a weekly or daily basis.

But what will happen when we are allowed to return to some sort of normality? Will you stop doing these new activities? Do you want to continue with some of them? This question is especially pertinent if the new habit has brought some improvements to you, or to your life. For example, if the new habit is eating healthier, because the take-aways are closed. Or walking and cycling to the shops, because the weather has been so kind. Or spending time relaxing with a book, because you have the time. Or being creative in how you spend your time with the children, because there are no entertainment venues, cinemas, shopping arcades or sports facilities open.

I have some good news for you, then. You’re already on your way to forming a new, better habit. And if you have not yet started doing something new; do not worry. There is still time to begin the process of forming a new habit. It has been stated by many self help books, that new habits take 21 days to form. This is not entirely true, as it will depend upon how complex the new habit is, or hard it is to do. The magic number of 21 days came from 1960s book that looks at how long amputees took to adjust to the loss of a limb (Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz MD). Some habits, if very simple, can take 20 days to form. Others, much longer. Research has shown that, on average, habits can take 66 days to become firmly cemented in our behaviour.

If that sounds daunting, just remember that, you have already started!! If you have taken the opportunity the lock-down offers to do something that you believe will be beneficial to you in the future, be it exercise, spending more quality time, relaxing, eating better, then you already have 20-30 days clocked up. And with the lock-down likely to continue in some some form for a few weeks yet, the opportunity to begin that process of new habit making is not lost. So turn this stressful time into an opportunity to fashion a new You. A new activity or pastime that will continue as the new habit becomes firmly part of your unconscious routine.

If you want to know more about the science behind all this, there are many books available to explain it. One I really like is Making Habits, Breaking Habits, How to Make Changes that Stick by Jeremy Dean. It will explain how the brain forms new pathways as we form new habits. It tackles this complex subject in an easy to read manner. The book is available in Irish libraries, Amazon Kindle, and on the Blinkist app (if that helps!).

And if you think you need some help along the way, then you can look for some life coaching that will offer the support you need to make these positive changes to your life. If you want to talk about this, then please feel free to contact me and we can have a chat to see what can work for you.

I wish you all every success as you continue down your chosen path of exploration.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and the very best of fortune to you all


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