Pandemic-Driven Habits to Keep for 2021

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What a Year!

After experiencing numerous ramifications from a pandemic to enduring negative political campaigns, most are not sad to say goodbye to 2020. On a positive note, some habits formed in 2020 may be worth keeping.

Cooking at Home and Dining in More

With social distancing requirements in place and fears of contracting COVID-19, 2020 forced us to cook at home and dine in more. While spending more time at home, developing culinary skills provided a create outlet, sense of accomplishment, and tasty meals. According to a survey of over 1000 adults conducted by Hunter, a food and beverage marketing communications firm, 54% said they are cooking more often, with 73% enjoying cooking as much or more than ever before. Fifty-one percent surveyed plan to continue to cook more often.

With an interest in staying healthy and strengthening immunity, home cooks have learned new ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into meals. Not only does home cooking have the potential for health benefits, it encourages family time, and is less expensive than eating out.

Purchasing More Food from Locally-Sourced Ingredients

Consumer demand for food from locally-sourced ingredients continues to increase. The High Country Food Hub gained over 1300 new customers, having a direct impact on community farmers and food producers’ income-earning ability. Nationwide, sales of hunting licenses increased by more than 12%, with fishing license sales up by 14% for 2020.

Enjoying Outside Activities

From personal observation while visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway, more people enjoyed outside activities in 2020, such as cycling, running, and hiking. According to a data analysis from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the COVID-19 lockdown led to increases in interest and engagement with physical activity throughout the UK, Australia, and the USA.

The positive effects of physical activity on physical and mental health are widely accepted. Studies about outdoor physical exercise show that this type of activity, particularly in natural environments, promotes physical and emotional benefits such as vitality, psychological restoration, and well-being. Also, exercising in natural settings is associated with increased energy, reduced stress, and a positive mood. This is especially important during stressful times, but also for healthful daily living.

What is Your Bright-Side Habit?

Consider what beneficial lifestyle changes you’ve been forced to make, like spending more time with family and becoming closer. Maybe you’re reading more, or have picked up a new hobby or creative outlet. Acknowledging the bright-side is an important step towards developing gratitude, and feeling happier.

Written By

Margie Mansure, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionMargie MansureExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences - Nutrition and Foods Call Margie E-mail Margie N.C. Cooperative Extension, Watauga County Center
Posted on Jan 6, 2021
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