It isn’t an understatement to say that the coronavirus pandemic has shaken up our lives — and the impact will be long-lasting. During this unprecedented time, we took stock of our lives from a different perspective, and made changes with intention. Whether we’ve been inspired to show more compassion, rethink our relationship with time, set new boundaries with work, or re-prioritize our well-being, we’re holding onto our new ways of operating, realizing that they serve us better than our old routines.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us one idea, habit, or expectation that they’re leaving in the past, and why they’re better off without it. Which of these will you leave behind?

An obsession with busyness

“I used to be so busy that I did not have time to think deeply about my future plans and goals. Because of the pandemic, I was forced to slow down, and now, I actually get more done! What’s more, I’ve decided to leave the ‘busy addiction’ in the past and focus on accomplishing more in less time. Now, I’m reading more, embracing technology to stay connected to others, and taking classes online. I’m done with the need to always be the busiest.”

 —Tessa Greenberg, author and motivational speaker, St. Louis, MO

Parenting guilt

“I am leaving behind the feeling of guilt I felt for putting my career on hold to have children, and then the feeling of guilt I felt for trying to balance both. Working from home during lockdown has shown me that I am not alone in this struggle, and that I should not feel guilty for wanting both a happy family and a great career. I am relieved to see that such unusual circumstances have shed light into the real struggles of so many parents and pushed companies to adapt more compassionate ‘remote working’ policies, finally creating a shift in organizational culture about flexibility and its impact on productivity.”

—Leticia Corbisier, head of online learning, London, U.K.


“One habit that hopefully I will leave behind once the pandemic is a distant memory is my need to please others. I have always been the person that would ‘go along just to get along’ and then would end up getting frustrated that I would get taken advantage of. Now, instead of always saying ‘yes’ to every ask, I’ve learned to speak up earlier. I have practiced meditation during COVID-19 and realize my people-pleasing needs to be left in the past.”

 —Jo Ann Burkhalter, sales director, Auburn, AL

The idea that movement requires a membership 

“Since my gym closed at the beginning of lockdown, I haven’t been able to attend the usual spin classes or aerobics I always have. I used to leave work and then drive in a hurry during the rush hour traffic to be able to attend these classes on time. During the lockdown, I have discovered different activities which have made me enjoy exercise in a different way  — whether it’s walking, yoga at home, or jogging. I didn’t realize how much less fresh air I was getting beforehand, and with my new exercise rituals, I have even discovered parts of my local area that I have never seen before. Plus, I’m saving money! When COVID-19 is over, I will be canceling my gym membership.”

 —Jayshree Parmar, H.R. professional and writer, England, U.K.

Pressure to always “have it together” at work

“I will never go back to feeling pressure for perfection on work video calls. Dogs will bark, doorbells will ring, and makeup may not be on. We don’t have to pretend to be perfect.”

—Donna Peters, career coach and podcast host, Atlanta, GA

A non-stop hustle 

“One thing that I am leaving behind from this year is ‘the grind.’ I have learned to take some time for myself during this pandemic and stop grinding so hard when it comes to being available all the time. I am giving myself time to slow down, both in my personal and professional life. I need time for myself to just reflect, relax, and release.”

 —Clarissa McMickens-Thomas, audit, Tampa, FL

Putting work before family

“My husband and I used to love our efficiency and the feeling of accomplishing everything on our to-do list each day, but we stopped dead in our tracks when our 6-year-old casually said to us over breakfast, ‘Mom, if I ever go back to sports camp or after care at school, can I not be the last one to be picked up?’ That hit me like a ton of bricks. As entrepreneurs, the work will always be there. Now, we get done what we can by 5:00 p.m. and that’s it.”

—Lisa Pezik, business strategist, Toronto, ON, Canada

Trying to have total control

“We often try to control each part of our lives, but I’ve realized that this need for control actually gives us a false sense of security. This pandemic has made a mockery of control, as for many of us, our control has been taken away. Instead, it’s been replaced with fear of the unknown and fear of what might happen. This pandemic has brought forth the realization that control can be taken away in an instant. Now, I choose to step into the unknown with a knowing that every situation — even the most difficult — brings opportunity for growth, and that whatever I am going through is here to teach me something.”

—Jessica LaMarre, engineer, self-discover coach and founder, Tempe, AZ

The inner critic

“The one belief I will never go back to is that my self-worth should be linked to achievement only. During this period of lockdown, I made the decision to cut down on my working hours in order to support my kids, who are 5 and 7 years old. Initially, the inner critic reminded me how I should be doing more, earning more, and achieving more. I made a decision to let that go and I have adopted a new approach. Being of service to my kids and managing their emotional well-being is incredibly important and meaningful. By giving myself permission to let go of my old belief, I am operating from a place of calm confidence as opposed to stress and overwhelm.”

—Lori Milner, author and speaker, Johannesburg, South Africa

What’s one idea or habit you won’t return to after COVID-19? Let us know in the comments! 

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.