Unhealthy Pandemic Habits

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The Washington Post reporter Sunny Fitzgerald reminds us in a recent article that as we are beginning to reclaim our pre-pademic life back we are faced with choosing between pre-pandemic and pandemic habits.

We’re going to be faced with two sets of habits: pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. And we’ll have to choose which to repeat. It’s usually easier to act habitually, so we may end up returning to what we’ve done before the pandemic.

– Wendy Wood, a research psychologist at the University of Southern California and author of “Good Habits, Bad Habits.” (source: The Washington Post)

BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist, the founder and director of Stanford University’s Behavior Design Lab, and author of Tiny Habits, told the Washington Post:

Don’t leave your habits to chance. Now, as things shift back, it’s a wonderful opportunity to be deliberate about what habits you want to keep and what new habits you want to form.

Allison Aubrey of MPR News writes that many of us has developed some bad habits like excessive drinking, comfort eating, dropping regular activities, etc. Katy Milkman of the University of Pennsylvania, and author of the book How To Change, told “We know when a shock arises and forces a change in our behavior for an extended period of time, there tend to be carryover effects because we’re sticky in our behaviors”.

Scientists at UC San Francisco, reportedly analyzed data from a wellness smartphone app, Argus, which tracks daily step counts among users in countries around the globe, found that people took roghly 27 percent fewer steps a day, on average.

SHARP Health News lists the following 10 common pandemic bad-habits that people wish to break:

  1. Sleeping with your cellphone by your side.
  2. Skipping breakfast
  3. Caffeine all day, every day
  4. Sitting, slumping or snoozing for long periods of time
  5. Keeping food delivery services on speed dial
  6. Daily drinking
  7. Constant stimulation
  8. Working out for all the wrong reasons
  9. Switching around your sleep schedule
  10. Wake, work, sleep, repeat

Aubrey lists following four tips to get started with good habits:

  • Make an appointment with yourself. “I often advise my patients to calendarize their workouts or their physical activity to make sure it’s something they know they’re actually going to do,” told Dr. Gregory Marcus, of UCSF (University of California, San Fransisco).
  • Set bite-sized goals. “When we have bite-sized goals, we’re more likely to achieve them,” says Katy Milkman of University of Pennsylvania.
  • Make it fun. “If you don’t enjoy the pursuit of the goal, you won’t persist,” Milkman says.
  • Bet on yourself. “There’s wonderful research on cigarette smokers who want to quit, and having a way to put money on the line they’ll have to forfeit if they don’t achieve their goals within six months improves success rates by 30 percent,” says Milkman.
Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of March 13, 9 a.m.) 695,483,935 doses have been distributed and 556,980,091 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data a total of 9,459,644 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of March 11) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 1,421,869 (out of 19,004,503 tested) with 12,264 deaths.