7 Ways Your Life Should Change Before the Next Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic changed nearly everything — from the way we work and play, to how we interact with loved ones. Many of these changes were not welcome.

Thankfully, things have returned to normal as the pandemic itself now fades into a bad memory. But it is doubtful we will quickly forget the lessons learned in that difficult time.

And that’s a good thing. Hard times will reappear at some point. By changing your life today — or in the near future — you will be better equipped the next time the going gets tough.

Here are some key changes that you should adopt if you plan to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic world.

Start exercising more and eating better

Woman drinking a protein shake
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Here is the honest truth about COVID-19: If you are young and healthy, you stand a much better chance of surviving a bout with the virus.

The vast majority of COVID-19 fatalities have involved people who are older and/or who have health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart-related problems. You can’t control your age, but you certainly can take charge of your health.

To state it bluntly, if you choose nights on the couch over evenings of physical activity, you are putting your life at risk. The same is true if you grab that sugary soda instead of a nice, cool glass of water.

In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 78% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 were overweight or obese, with fully half falling into the latter category. Eat right and exercise so that your immune system will purr like a Ferrari when you really need it.

Pursue careers that allow remote work

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We have all learned the value of work that can be done from the comfort of our bedrooms or home offices. Tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic. Many of those jobs were in industries — service, restaurant, retail — where working from home is not an option.

So, if you are starting out in the workforce, consider careers where a computer, smartphone and similar technology allow you to work from virtually anywhere. If you are a bit older, consider retraining for such a career.

Stop spending, start saving

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Did you ever imagine that federal and state governments would effectively prohibit you from working? It’s a safe bet that few of the roughly 40 million people who lost their jobs in 2020 ever planned for such a scenario.

When COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., hard-working, healthy people saw their livelihoods disappear in an instant — and with almost no warning — when businesses closed to prevent the virus’ spread. Workers who had some savings put away likely took this news better than their colleagues who lived paycheck to paycheck.

Hopefully, those who struggled financially during the pandemic have learned the value of always having a solid emergency fund. For tips on building one, check out “9 Tips for Starting an Emergency Fund Today.”

Make your home a castle

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Here at Money Talks News, we are never going to suggest spending recklessly. It makes no sense to go into debt simply so you can turn a home into your own personal Taj Mahal. In all money matters, we insist that prudence is the key to building a solid financial foundation.

At the same time, it’s also true that the pandemic made us more aware than ever that there is no place like home. When you spend most of your waking — and sleeping — hours in the same place, day after day for weeks on end, you quickly learn how important it is to love where you live.

So, if that new kitchen or home theater system will really make your heart sing, consider making a splurge. Just don’t go overboard. If you need a little help deciding where to spend, check out “17 Home Renovations That Give Owners the Most Joy.”

Learn to become self-reliant

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When a pandemic rolls into town, weird stuff starts happening:

  • Your doctor suddenly refuses to see you face to face.
  • Your place of worship locks its doors.
  • Your hairstylist wishes you luck with the Rapunzel look.

We may live in the modern world, but we’ve all learned that the social ties that bind us are a lot more fragile than we thought. So, learn to take matters into your own hands — from cutting your own hair to repairing things around the house.

Yes, we’re all in this life together. But when the going gets tough, we may find ourselves all alone.

Explore the great outdoors more often

Redwood forest of Muir Woods National Monument, California
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From the movies to the ballpark, many of our most cherished forms of entertainment evaporated in an instant in early 2020.

But parks remained open. You could still take a long walk, run or bicycle ride through the neighborhood. And millions discovered the simple joys of bird-watching.

Even a pandemic can only reach so deeply into our lives. Once experts told us that our risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 was much lower outdoors, we took to fresh-air hobbies in droves.

Hopefully, you have maintained those habits. Cultivating outdoor hobbies will give you an outlet the next time we encounter a virus or other societal disruption.

Give up the navel-gazing once and for all

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From the “me decade” of the 1970s to today, many of us have done our level best to avoid growing up.

That time is over.

The pandemic reminded us that there are moments when we must put on our adult pants and rely upon ourselves. At the same time, it underscored the importance of being there for one another. So, find the time to volunteer and give back. It will likely make you happier.

As we reported in “12 Habits Happy People Use To Make Life Better“:

“One way happy people show generosity is by volunteering their time and talents. To maximize the happiness you get out of this habit, volunteer with an eye toward a specific goal. According to a Stanford researcher, having concrete giving goals creates more happiness than vague ones.”

When your life — and the lives of loved ones — are threatened, money, materialism and worldly success don’t mean much. The ties that bind are what count.

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