11 ways Detroiters’ ‘new normal’...

11 ways Detroiters’ ‘new normal’ actually makes life a little better

While the pandemic has brought on immense challenges, many have found a handful of perks — from more time with family to a much calmer routine.

By Allison Jacobs and Alex Washington

There’s no doubt about it: The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed our way of life, switching up our typically constant routines in ways we’d never have expected. Now, we’ve had to adjust to a “new normal” for more than four months. We’ve been forced to alter the way we work, interact with loved ones and strangers, shop, grieve, celebrate, exercise and travel. But beyond the more obvious changes, the pandemic has led to new ways of going about our daily lives — and shifts in how we think about our priorities and how we spend our time. 

We wanted to know what changes Metro Detroiters have become accustomed to — and the small ways our lives have improved that could remain after the COVID-19 crisis recedes.  

Detour readers in our Facebook community shared the changes they hope will stay, ranging from from no more long commutes to actually making time to check in on loved ones. Here’s what they said — join the group to get in on the conversation.

1. Slowing down

“I like that I don’t feel like I’m in a rush to get to places anymore…work, the gym.” -Robin Runyan

“No rush hour traffic, ever!” -Liz Blondy 

“I’m also thrilled to slow down… the constant shuttling of four kids to activities and games was wearing me out. The slower pace with more time together has been awesome.” -Lynsey Bernard

2. That WFH life

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

“I feel more relaxed with not having to spend two hours each day commuting. Working from home has definitely given me a more balanced lifestyle…IMO the pandemic has been a way for the universe to slow us all down. Sometimes we are all just doing the most always.” -Angie Haygood

“Working at home and enjoying my little yard and garden at the height of summer has been so nice. I have a feeling I’ll be more stir crazy if/when we’re still shut in this winter.” -Sarah Murphy

“Remote working and meetings. Meetings are better when I can drink simultaneously from home.” -Calebriana Grande 

3. Handshakes and hi-fives are canceled

“I am loving not having to awkwardly physically greet people anymore. The introvert in me is happy for a few less handshakes and hugs.” -Kimberly Ford 

“With less socializing, I haven’t had to do that anxious introvert thing where I say yes to something when I’m having an outgoing day, and then later flake because I’m drained. With no social obligations, I’ve had more time for gardening and my artwork.” -Carie Ann Branch 

4. More time with kids and family

“I was told in November working remotely was not an option and now it is. It allows me to stay home with my 3 month old and avoid hiring a babysitter or sending her to daycare.” -Micah Moss

“I’m a lot more confident in my parenting skills now because I’ve had so much time and space to figure things out without the pressure of a crazy schedule, or other people watching or the morning rush.” -Ashley Woods Branch

5. A new way to shop

“I also like so many stores offering curbside pickup and online order ahead options — feels like a service upgrade and not a compromise to me!” -Sarah Murphy 

“I personally love the six-feet distance in stores. I have always hated when people were extra close while I was checking out or trying to get service.” -Alex Washington

Find more stories about how Detroiters are navigating the pandemic here.

6. Creating new habits

“I took up running, which I hope I stick to. Also exploring some hikes and parks in my area I’ve never been to before.” -Katie Dentzman 

“I like that I’ve worked out at home more regularly (I’ve always been bad about that), and taking my dog on more walks.” -Robin Runyan

7. Dining alfresco

“It’s a small thing, but I’m hoping Detroit keeps the expanded areas for outdoor seating! I’d rather be outside all the time anyways.” -Lauren Ann 

8. Virtual appointments

“Not spending hours in waiting rooms for therapy and doctors appointments! Virtual is amazing.” -Jenny Romanczuk 

9. Making time to connect with loved ones

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

“More interactions that are meaningful with good people (socially-distanced, limited, and marked with athletic paint) in my yard.” -Jeremiah Staes 

“Getting to ‘see’ extended family, and friends who are farther away! Normally I just keep up with people on social media, or texting, or even just seeing them at big family functions every few years. And now we’ve had video happy hours with people more regularly, and it’s been really nice to actually SEE everyone (I even got to meet a long lost cousin!).” -Brittany Woodell

10. Saving a few bucks

“No more gym fees.” -Amy Ann Latawiec

11. Time for self-improvement

“This has been so hard on so many levels for me. But I’m grateful that at the beginning of this my husband and I decided that we were going to write down a moral compact of who and how we wanted to be in this time. I want to continue to look at myself in the mirror every day knowing I have tried to live up to the highest ethical standards in the best way I know how.” -Katie Vogel

“I am happier and putting more energy into myself and my businesses I’m developing and realized it’s more time to put myself above work and stress.” -TáLyn Lovin-Life Maynard