Our lessons, from sourdough to six-feet-apart

If your New Year’s resolution is to put 2020 firmly behind you, you’re not alone. Yet, as we reflect on a turbulent year, there are moments of inspiration too. Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned.

Defence against the dark arts

In January, most of us had a cursory understanding of how germs spread. By April, we were casually throwing around terms like “herd immunity” and “incubation period” as if we were Mayo Clinic medical interns. And while wearing face masks was unpopular in the spring, by summer, many of us were sporting them in public spaces.

We also began taking nutrition more seriously. Because of the pandemic, sales of immunity supplements jumped by 25 percent, led by old standbys like vitamin C, as well as newer trends like probiotics. Other immune-boosting supplements that many of us discovered in 2020 include vitamin D, zinc, and elderberry.

If we can stick with our new hygiene habits, it’ll bode well for us, whether we’re talking about the common cold or more serious diseases.

School’s out

Worldwide, 250 million kids were affected by school closures, and many parents took on the daunting task of homeschooling during a pandemic—often while also working from home. Parents, take heart—we’ve learned this year that “doing our best” is “good enough” during these trying times, and that our kids, like us, are resilient.

The corona kitchen

A whopping 54 percent of us say we’re cooking more, and 46 percent of us say we’re baking more. There was the sourdough trend, and then who can forget whipped coffee, which started as a viral online video that has since racked up tens of millions of views.

Some theorize that this obsession with baking and cooking is a type of meditation, distracting us from the turmoil outside the kitchen. Or perhaps the ability to handcraft and enjoy something new gives us a sense of optimism and control when everything else feels chaotic.

Whatever the psychological cause, it’s here to stay. A third of us say that even after the pandemic is over, we’ll continue to make more home-cooked meals and dine out less.

Let’s (not) go to the mall

As everyday life ground to a halt, we flocked online. Compared with May 2019, this past May saw online sales jump by a record-breaking 110.8 percent. Consumer behavior studies found that more of us chose to shop with a conscience during 2020, prioritizing local vendors and local sustainable products.

A zooming commute

Nearly a quarter of businesses say they expect to continue their new work-from-home model long after the pandemic is over. Working from home offers benefits such as more freedom and flexibility. Plus you can’t beat the commute!

Despite its difficulties, and its tragedies, and its shared social grief, 2020 also held moments of self-discovery and self-growth. As we look to the future, let’s take these lessons with us.