People All Over the World Are Completely Reinventing Themselves. Are You Next?

·4 min read


"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below."

As the pandemic descended in 2020, my family and I — like much of the world — had one focus: survival. But two long years later, now that we've moved through COVID-19’s most stressful moments, we decided to make some changes. They might seem small to some, but they've made a big difference in helping my family reprioritize what's important to us: Instead of simply reverting to our pre-COVID schedule, we reimagined our time, dialing back the kids’ activity schedule, spending our downtime together hiking, playing board games and cooking. My husband and I committed to working less at night and on the weekends. These changes weren’t easy and didn’t come naturally, but now, more than halfway through the year, I’ve learned that it’s these everyday moments that bond us together.

Based on the latest data, we’re in good company. The pandemic spawned a collective reevaluation of goals, lifestyles and values — call it "The Great Reimagination." In fact, according to data collected by an exclusive Good Housekeeping survey of more than 2,600 people, 84% say they're taking stock of their lives and making changes. In addition to subtle shifts like those my family implemented, research suggests that people across the globe are making BIG moves in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than one-third of married people expressed interest in getting divorced, with new couples most affected. City dwellers relocated to the country. And workers quit their jobs at historic rates, with many moving from lower-paying, less prestigious jobs, to higher-paying, more flexible positions. Even pet adoptions hit an all-time high during the pandemic (up 250%). Home upgrades hit the roof, too, especially the DIY variety.

“With the pandemic, we had to shelter in place, slow down and contemplate,” says Judith Orloff, M.D., Ph.D., a psychiatrist in Santa Monica, California and author of The Empath’s Survival Guide. “That forced reflection caused many of us to ask ourselves: ‘How can I create a life that better suits my needs?’” At the same time, the pandemic reminded us that life is short — and it coaxed us to reprioritize.

Plus, humans often feel an itch to DO something when there’s complete stillness (as in the pandemic). We’re also terrible at making hard decisions when emotions run high. “There’s this notion that I’m feeling anxious, so there must be something threatening around,” Rego says. “People forget that their emotions are being inflated by circumstance.”

Orloff insists that no one should feel pressured to make changes. “Instead, when you quiet your mind and tune into your body through meditation or walks, you create the necessary space to ask yourself important questions that lead to big decisions: “Am I happy? How can I tweak my life, so I can have more happiness and more love? Does the choice I’m making (or not making) feel good? What are the benefits of changing and do those outweigh the cost of disruptions to the status quo?”

When you have the answers to those questions, you’ll be better equipped to make only the necessary shifts, or recognize that staying the course is good for your body and soul. As for me and my family? We stayed put, despite an itch to move. But we also dug a hole in our backyard for a pool — a hole our pandemic puppy can’t wait to dive into. Read on for more advice and stories of transformation from people around the country — no matter how big or small a change you want to make, these tips and insights may just inspire you to set off on your own journey.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Readers Reveal the Big (and Small) Changes They've Made in the Last Two Years

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Good Housekeeping surveyed over 2,600 people about their pandemic and post-pandemic shifts. Here's what they had to say.

Read More

The Transformation Diaries

Photo credit: Illustration by Wu He Ping / Courtesy of Subjects
Photo credit: Illustration by Wu He Ping / Courtesy of Subjects

More than a dozen people from across the country shared details of their own "Great Reimagination," including a leap from a big business to a small one (and back again), a new approach to finding love, the difficult decision to go to rehab and more.

Read More

"I Redefined What It Means to Be a Champion"

Photo credit: Athleta
Photo credit: Athleta

Gymnast Simone Biles explains the difficult decision to put her mental health first on the world's biggest athletic stage.

Read More

More Inspiration for Your Great Reimagination

You Might Also Like