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5 Pandemic Trends Likely to Stick Around After COVID-19

During the pandemic, our habits and daily routines have drastically changed. Could the 'new normal' be better than the old one?

What a difference a year makes. Barbara Leopold and Pamela Mudway said at the start of 2020, they worked out at a local recreation center three to four times a week. Then, COVID-19 hit. 

"It was a moment, like, 'But wait, we just started to do things well and getting healthy!'" said Mudway. "And it took maybe a few weeks to realize, 'Well, we can change that. We can still have that lifestyle that's healthy.' And we've gotten healthier since that because we've really made an effort to do what we did there in our own home."

"It's been craziness, it's been eye-opening, it's been challenging, and it's been rewarding all at the same time," said Leopold. "But I never could have anticipated this."

They're not the only ones. Regent University Psychology & Counseling Assistant Professor Dr. Vanessa Kent broke down five pandemic trends that may be here to stay.

  1. Creating a healthier lifestyle at home. "Bikes flew off the shelves as soon as we were at home, and home gyms have become very, very popular," said Dr. Kent. "But the way we eat is really important. And because there's more time at home, I think there's more happening in the kitchen."
  2. The shift toward 'e-commerce', or online shopping. "Because of the convenience, because we can do this 24/7, people love it and it's not going away," said Dr. Kent.
  3. Working from home. "I don't think we're ever going to go back to 9-5, Monday through Friday in a cubicle," said Dr. Kent. "It just isn't going to because we know we can be very productive at home. And not having those long commutes, maybe even shrinking the carbon footprint as a result of not being out in traffic."
  4. The rising use of telehealth. "People are caring about their health," said Dr. Kent. "They really want to see somebody and yet maybe can't get an appointment close by... Now it's just right on there on their screen."
  5. Keeping in touch more with loved ones. "Being able to stay connected to our family, our friends... those are things that we've said we can't do without," said Dr. Kent. "So, I think the fears will fade, the relationships will stay."

Another pandemic trend that Dr. Kent said deserves an honorable mention is the change in traveling and vacationing. 

People are still doing it, she said, but they're not necessarily hopping on planes and going far distances. Instead, they're hopping in the car and going to drivable destinations or doing road trips. She does believe, however, that long-distance travel will return at some point after the pandemic.

Dr. Kent said these pandemic life changes could be for the better. Mudway and Leopold said they couldn't agree more.

 "I can't say that we will never go back [to the recreation center], but we're pretty much set," said Leopold. "There's really no excuse when your gym is a couple of steps down the hallway."