How has the pandemic permanently changed people’s lifestyles?

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — It’s been almost one year since coronavirus invaded Oklahoma. With more than 500,000 Oklahomans now vaccinated, many are speculating about when life will return to normal. Experts say some of the changes we made during the pandemic are here to stay.

“People slowed down,” said Broken Arrow mom Lindsey Bauer-Adank.

“People got to spend time with their family. I mean, I know overall, it was the pits, but you’ve got to look at the upside of that family connection.”

Bauer-Adank, like so many of us, is spending a lot more time at home these days. Her family moved from Indiana back to Oklahoma, and she decided to become a stay-at-home mom.

A new report finds 53% of adults are spending an extra 7 hours a day at home. That amounts to two more days at home each week. More than 1/3 have a new appreciation for our homes.

“Even before the pandemic, we knew that homes are tremendously important for our wellbeing,” said New York Times best-selling author Meik Weiking.

“About 15% of our overall happiness is connected with our homes, but we can see they’ve become even more important these days.”

Weiking is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute. It’s his job to study what makes us happy.

“Fourteen percent have started to cook more, spend more time in the kitchen. Seventeen percent say they are more creative in the kitchen,” said Weiking.

“I did a lot more baking. Cooking, I’ve always done, but baking was something I never really did. I was baking bread, I was baking cakes and cookies,” said Bauer-Adank.

“I’m one of those 14%. I’ve always enjoyed cooking. I think it’s a great hobby. I think it’s a great skill, being able to put food on the table that you enjoy and your family enjoys, and I think more of us have turned to that, recently,” said Weiking.

He went on to explain how, when our world seems like it’s spiraling out of control, spending more time in the kitchen could bring us comfort.

“We cannot control a global pandemic, but I can control on what we are having for dinner tonight,” said Weiking.

”I’m focusing on that what I can control, and focusing on how do we build in some wellbeing, how do we build in some joy in our everyday lives.”

Whirlpool Corporation commissioned this research, to look at how our lives changed in 2020 and what trends might be here to stay.

“Sixteen percent have taken up a new hobby. I think the most interesting part of the study is that 27% of Americans say they have found unexpected positive outcomes of so much being at home,” said Weiking.

“For me personally, my life has gotten better. I hate to say it, but I get to enjoy my time at home with my family, and there’s no hustle and bustle,” said Bauer-Adank.

Although 54% say they hope life gets back to normal this year, more than 1/4 say they want to keep some of the changes they’ve made inside their homes, like shared chores, cooking together more, family game or movie nights, or doing new hobbies long-term.

“I’ve become really good with my kids’ Legos,” said Bauer-Adank.

“I’m a Lego architect. We’re definitely a closer family. We are definitely more involved with each others’ lives than ever before, because it’s all we have.”

Weiking shares ideas for improving happiness in this online hub:

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