The arrival of COVID-19 and the ensuing global pandemic made life much harder for everyone. Social distancing and masks put up barriers between people. As many embraced the “new normal,” others argued, and health and safety became a political debate. The past few years have been stressful and unlike anything current society has faced before.
Beneath the surface, though, the pandemic also transformed certain parts of life to make them easier and better for all. There are now plenty of time-saving conveniences from the social-distancing era that will stick around. Many changes helped improve accessibility for older adults and people with disabilities. But these services aren’t limited to those who are home-bound. Here are six pandemic-inspired ways to make your life simpler in 2023.
1. Avoid In-Person Shopping With Grocery Delivery
Easily one of the best advances that the pandemic produced was the ability to get your produce and other products quickly. Grocery delivery services existed both in concept and somewhat in practice before the pandemic. Remember the Amazon drones that were supposed to show up at your window with groceries? Well, it might just be a guy on a bike now, but the end result is basically the same.
There’s honestly no reason to stop getting your groceries delivered just because you can go back to the store. It’s convenient, still prevents the spread of illness, and it can be cost efficient. The money you have to spend on delivery pales in comparison to the price of gasoline and those spur-of-the-moment buys. Keep 2023 easy by opening an app on your phone instead of the doors in the freezer aisle.
2. Skip the Pharmacy Line With Online Prescriptions
Just like grocery delivery saves you time at the store, online prescriptions can save you time at the doctor’s office and pharmacy. During the pandemic, many high-risk individuals couldn’t visit pharmacies in person to pick up medications, so they relied on delivery. This was a life-saving service when COVID cases were at an all time high. But as cases are fewer, it can still be a simple way to make life easier.
A variety of prescriptions can be filled and delivered through online services. If you know you have a condition like high blood pressure or a hormone deficiency, ongoing treatment can be prescribed online. Some services even offer a subscription. A birth control subscription, for example, can be filled at the same time each month and delivered to your door.
3. Save Time With TeleHealth Appointments
Getting your medications online is great, but sometimes you just need to talk to a doctor. Perhaps you’ve got some emerging symptoms you’re concerned about. You’ve already searched them on WebMD, and are subsequently convinced that you now have cancer or worse. Maybe it’d be a good idea to get a second opinion.
Rather than scheduling time off from life and making an entire trip to the doctor’s office, you can use telehealth instead. Many doctors now offer this as an option to offer convenience to patients. If you’re trying to make your life easier — and more enjoyable — skipping the waiting room is a great start. This is especially true for minor illnesses that don’t need much attention.
4. Consider Remote Work Opportunities
Speaking of telecommunications, many companies now offer remote work opportunities. While digital nomads have been making this happen for over a decade now, remote work has finally become mainstream. COVID-19 emptied out the office faster than Dwight Schrute lighting his own on fire.
It may take some negotiation, but the statistics don’t lie. Companies employing remote workers report increased productivity and greater life satisfaction from employees. Working remotely can also be a great way to slowly travel and visit countries you’d never thought you’d have the time to see. If you’re interested in living a more flexible lifestyle, consider asking your employer if it’s possible.
5. Take Advantage of Online Education
Like offices, educational institutions closed their doors en masse at the onset of the pandemic. Many students, especially at the college level, had to adjust to their own new normal. Since then, many schools have reopened their doors. Some have returned to full attendance, while others have barely scratched at their capacity.
What has since only increased is the amount of online offerings the average school system provides. Again, especially at the college level, many institutions already offered online degrees. But this number has increased dramatically, and the remote option is incredibly flexible. Many people who were once unable to take off time to attend college can now get their degree online. Consider advancing your own degree in the coming year and possibly making your life easier as new job opportunities arise.
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6. Relax With Marijuana
No longer do you have to meet a shady dealer in the Wendy’s parking lot at two in the morning to get a dime bag. The pandemic helped galvanize the cannabis industry’s revolution that was already underway beforehand. Cannabis businesses were declared “essential” during lockdown, allowing them to remain open. This helped further positive public opinion on the still federally illegal drug.
Since California first legalized medical marijuana in 1996, 38 states — more than half — have followed suit. And 21 of those states allow the sale of recreational marijuana as well. Whether you use it for fun, health, or both, you can cruise into 2023 knowing your sesh is safe.
A New Normal
Some companies, institutions, and people have reverted back to something similar to their pre-pandemic form. Others have embraced this new world and all the great and sometimes surprising conveniences it offers. The pandemic demonstrated how far digital technologies have come in supporting every day life. It also showed that new industries have the potential to continue growing. These new baselines will only continue on into the future now that they’re set as a precedent.