“Appreciating the simple things”: adapting our leisure lifestyles to the “new normal”


COVID-19 is arguably one of the most defining events of the past century the one who shared our whole life between before and after.

The pandemic has changed our world and while the long-term impacts are still unclear, it’s safe to say we are facing a new normal.

With this story, we examine how our lives have already been affected and what may be in store for us in the weeks, months and years to come.

What exactly do we do instead of dining out, playing hockey, hosting or attending parties, going to the movies, or going to Toronto to see a musical? On the leisure side, the lifestyle results may surprise you.

Many Canadians said they were spending more free time on their screens, watching TV or consuming streaming services like YouTube and Netflix.

Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials spent the majority (57%) of their home entertainment time watching TV and/or streaming movies, while younger people (Gen Z) reported not spend only 10% of their time on these more traditional digital media options. , according to Deloitte’s 2021 media survey.

At least the animals seem to be enjoying the misery that COVID-19 brings us. Breeders and shelters are reporting increased interest in pet ownership. Since March 2020, about 900,000 Canadians who did not previously own a pet have brought one home, according to a June 2021 national survey.

This increase in pet adoption means that nearly 60% of households now own at least one dog or cat. The companionship our pets provide is believed to improve our mental health, the survey said.

A 2021 study found that around 70% of Canadians said they had spent more time at home since the pandemic. Of this group, 20% reported an increase in alcohol consumption, but their motivations differed by gender.

More women tended to drink to cope with additional stressors; while men drank to overcome boredom. Whatever the reasons, the booze seems to flow in all four seasons.

Adapting to restrictions, some of us learn by reading, taking online courses or listening to podcasts. Others spent their free time cooking home-cooked meals or working out in the garage.

And what about sex? Should we expect a baby boom cohort due to more couples spending more time in bed? Interestingly, that seems unlikely.

According to a University of British Columbia study by Dr. Lori Brotto, sexual activity between cohabiting partners slowed after the first months of the pandemic.

“Over time, COVID-19 has become a chronic stressor on relationships,” Brotto said. “Existing conflicts have only been compounded by new stresses associated with everything from homework to childcare and financial hardship.”

To get used to this “new normal” and find a “new rhythm”, Richmond Hill author Colby Sharma suggests that people create their own daily rituals and stick closely to them.

“It can be something as simple as keeping a conscientious diary,” Sharma said. “Focusing on what I envision for my present and my future and trying not to get too caught up in the current situation.”

As an active sports enthusiast and frequent traveler, Sharma’s typical leisure routine came to an abrupt halt. It took him a while to settle into a slower, calmer pace.

“It’s not healthy to focus too much on external events and circumstances beyond our control,” said the author of his first book, “The Curveball,” which offers tactics for thriving in the changing world. pandemic.

Sharma says your own set of rituals depends on what motivates you. “If it’s standing up for something, start a Facebook group or join a cause you believe in.”

Pandemic separation also creates a desire for relationships, he said. “Another pillar of my book is that ‘adversity is a team sport’ – so that means reaching out to your support system when times are tough is key.”

While home entertainment and virtual gatherings are among the permanent changes, Sharma also sees many embracing the simpler things in life now more than ever before.

“Things as simple as going out, having a family picnic or having a coffee and walking with a friend have taken on new meaning since March 2020.

“I don’t take simple things for granted anymore,” he said.

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Reporter Yoyo Yan dug a little on your behalf to examine how the pandemic has changed our leisure lifestyles for now and for good.


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