With the dawn of COVID year three upon us, we decided to take a beat and parse through the lessons we learned over the last twenty—we mean two—years. Some lessons we needed to learn—how to slow down, how to hold space for others and the importance of reality television in hard times. Some we could have done without—atmospheric rivers, sourdough overload and the social hellscape that is zoom trivia nights. 

COVID, you’ve taught us that everything is unprecedented. That instead of chasing the old, it’s time to embrace the new. The new new normal, that is. We left a lot of baggage in old COVID times and we’re boarding COVID year three with just a carry-on of our most important lessons. Here they are: 

What to carry forward:

1. Check-in culture

In the early days of COVID—when seeing our people IRL was ripped from under us—we quickly learned that when it comes to relationships, a little care and attention go a long way. Whether that means setting a bi-weekly calendar reminder to call your grandparents, or scheduling 30 minutes every week to reach out to your long-distance pals—the effort is always worth it. Continue to ask, listen, and be empathetic in 2022.

2. Putting your phone (and yourself) on airplane mode

Screen fatigue is real. The over-stimulation of being constantly accessible—emails, Slack pings, texts, likes, Strava kudos—also real. Carve out an hour or two of your day where you can put your phone on airplane mode, and feel your anxiety melt away (once you get past the phantom-ping period).

3. Thanks, it’s sustainable 

Fires, floods, panic-inducing temps—climate change was the definition of in-your-face this year. No more denying or dilly-dallying. It’s time to commit to shopping and championing brands that are actively healing the environment.

4. Keeping it local

One of our fave COVID movements was the collective push to shop local and support small biz’s. In Vancouver, we’re pretty spoiled with the amount of rad coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants to support. It never stops feeling good to give your business to a place that really values it—and you—so less Amazon, more local bodega finds, okay?

What to leave behind:

1. Sweats for all occasions

They have their time and place, but wearing the same sweatsuit for seven days in a row is sooo 2021. It’s time to, you know, dress to impress. But also, wear whatever makes you feel the most incredible because life’s too short not too.

2. All work and no play

Wanna know the secret to creating innovative work, consistently? Ruthless rest. Being suuuuuper busy is cool and all, but have you ever tried not making plans, doing something meditative—like taking a long, aimless nature walk—and sleeping seven to nine hours a night? Ideas will start flying out of you, trust us. 

3. Adding to the noise

Let’s be honest, we could all do a better job at thinking before we speak (or share or post or tweet).   

If these lessons feel on par with your COVID-takeaways, we’d probably be best friends. So make sure to subscribe to our monthly bulletin—The Field Report—to hear more of our big little thoughts like this.

Written by Banafshe Salehi and Stephanie Elmitt