My new normals
Staying in touch during lockdown has, undoubtedly, proven tougher as the days progress. There seems to be no conversation without the mention of the coronavirus and let’s face it, why do we ask people how their day went when we know that it was exactly the same as the previous day?
That being said, I’ve now found ways to use this repetitiveness to my advantage- to kill old, bad habits and build new, good ones. Let me explain.
Every night at 12 am, my friend and I get in touch. Before any words are said, a screenshot is shared. A screenshot of our respective screen times for the day. With being stuck at home the entire day, we found ourselves spending all the more time with our eyes glued to the tiny screens in our hands. Determined to cut down, we decided to make use of the one force that has power beyond any – peer pressure. At university, we were the two friends who constantly found ourselves saying to each other, “If you do it, I’ll do it” (albeit, that was usually on a night out). Our screen time comparison routine is in some way, just that. If she’s managed to spend an hour less that day, I’m all the more motivated to be an hour less the next. And now, we (quite ironically) find ourselves contributing one hour to that screen time just by talking about our screen times every night, but that’s our new normal daily catch up session.
If you’re an avid Snapchatter, that routine may sound familiar to you. It’s the same habit-forming psychology that Snapchat streaks are based on. The longer you go without breaking one, the more rewarding it feels; or at least that’s what my friends with multiple 1000+ day streaks have told me. I’ve never been one to maintain streaks but now I’ve found a way to use them to form a new habit. Everyday, my friend in Singapore (my uni gym buddy) and I send each other streak snaps of our post-workout selfies. Since we’re in different timezones, I receive his snap before it’s time for my workout and that, without fail, motivates me to not skip my session.
Holding myself accountable to my friends in ways like these kills two birds with one stone. The accountability helps me be in control of my habits and I stay in touch with my friends in much more entertaining ways. I also get to severely guilt-trip them if they mess up, which is always a plus.
And with family, Friday nights are now movie nights (the weekend is Friday and Saturday in Dubai which is where I live). It helps us to differentiate between the weekdays and weekends and to just keep track of days, to the point where I find myself measuring time in the number of movie nights that have passed.
I encourage all of you to take some time to find your new normals. Find ways that work for you and try to be creative with them. It helps me keep my sanity in check and will definitely be something I look back and smile at, 40 or so move nights later.