Colin asked, “What new habits have you developed thanks to Covid?” Quite a few, is my answer. Possibly enough for a blog post. Let’s see…

I eat a hot breakfast every day and take my time over it instead of inhaling cereal and rushing out the door. On weekdays it’s usually scromelette: not-quite-scrambled-eggs-but-not-quite-omelette. Add wilted spinach, baby roma tomatoes, feta, herbs and perhaps ham. Serve on toasted olive bread with good butter.

Making and eating this breakfast means I start the day feeling as though I’ve had a special treat.

At weekends I might have gluten-free croissants, which are a thing of wonder. Before I discovered them, I’d lived 17 years sans croissant. That’s a loooong time to go without that buttery, crispy yet soft sensation that is the croissant.

I make coffee in an AeroPress. A friend gave me one and I stuck it in the cupboard until last year, when my stovetop coffeemaker died. (I left it on the hotplate and burnt a hole in it.) This was in the depths of early COVID, when the shops had been stripped by panic buyers. I felt mild panic too, then. Life without freedom AND coffee? Unthinkable. Then I remembered the AeroPress. I’m a convert now. It makes good, strong coffee in an instant (pardon the pun).

I walk less in the hills and more around the neighbourhood. I know all the alleyways and cut-throughs in my suburb now. I get up very early and go walking and I walk in the late afternoon too. Some days I have three walks. I also go to the Arboretum a lot. Miss Daisy pup, acquired to help lessen the COVID loneliness, says it’s non-negotiable. She’s the boss.

I cut my own fringe. Sometimes it’s a success and sometimes it’s hilarious. I cut it wonkily recently and had to go too short to fix my mistake. Two weeks later, it’s grown in fine. The rest of my hair hasn’t been cut. March 2020 was the last time I went to a hairdresser. I like having long hair.

I stopped wearing mascara when we started working from home. I go into the office now, several times a week, but I haven’t bothered to restart the mascara-wearing habit. Possibly my eyes look smaller and my lashes shorter but in this socially distanced world no-one gets close enough to notice. Also, I don’t care.

I’ve gone back to wearing colourful clothes. Twenty years ago, when I started working in government jobs, I wore a lot of red. Over the years, I learned to conform and dress in black. This week we had a staff photo taken. Forty or so people gathered for the photo and only five of us were wearing bright colours. Everyone else was in black or navy.

I talk to my neighbours often—a proper chat, not just a wave and a smile. We’ve all been at home so much. We see each other most days. We look out for each other. It comforts me greatly.

I guard my time more. Work takes up a lot of time. So does having a puppy. Anything left over is precious. I used to say yes to everything, try to be there for everyone. Now I’m more selective. I do less, deliberately.

I’m sure there are other new habits, things I now do differently, but these are the everyday ones that spring to mind. Eating a proper breakfast, savouring my coffee, walking a lot, hanging out with the dog, caring less about how I look, connecting with my community and valuing my time. I can’t help thinking that, actually, they add up to a more authentic life.

How about you? (P.S. Thanks, Colin!)