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Three “pandemic habits” I’m absolutely done with.



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







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I didn’t have a good work week last week.

No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get into the groove of things. I felt behind in all my projects. I kept pulling onto social media and feeling like everyone else was light years ahead of me in various ways.

I was doing something I preach against all the time: looking to my devices as the informers for what to do with my days. And it wore me out. Correction: it has worn me out for the last few months and I finally reached a breaking point this weekend.

This pandemic has been rough for all of us. We were involuntarily forced into all sorts of “new normal”s that left us isolated and panicky. We are still here, one year later. And I can speak for myself in saying that I justified a lot of unhealthy habits because of this pandemic. I thought to myself, “This is coping. This is okay” as my screentime rose to astronomical levels and I consumed more TikTok videos than I care to even admit.

All this consumption has left me tired, overwhelmed, and feeling chaotic and it’s time to steer back in the right direction. I know the problems and now I need to fix them.

I tuned into a podcast on Saturday about reclaiming your morning hours and the host said something that has haunted me ever since: you’re either being proactive in your work or you’re being reactive and distractive.

For the last few months, since coming off book launch, I’ve been reactive and distractive in my work habits. I’ve looked to my social media to shut off my brain for a little while. I’ve gone into the trenches of my email to find something to do. I’ve felt like I’ve been treading water for the last few months (not really creating anything new) and enough is enough.

I immediately pulled out my notebook and decided to change a few habits that have become ingrained in me since the start of the pandemic:

001. I’m done with waking up and jumping on social media.

This is a biggie.

When the pandemic started, I felt like being on my phone was justified. I had to keep up with the news. I had to know what was going on with the pandemic. I told myself, “Well, we are in a pandemic… go easy on yourself and just spend a little more time on social media. It’s okay.” I used social media as an outlet for the moments I didn’t want to think or process or participate in my own life.

When you wake up in the morning and immediately check onto social media, you are actively checking out of your own life for the life of someone else. That fact terrifies me.

I have a life that needs to be cultivated. A faith that needs to be tended to. A family that needs love and support. I have a life and no one else can live into it but me. So why would I voluntarily choose to check out from that life the second I wake up?

Over the last few days, I’ve set my phone in the bathroom at night and I’ve woken up to my alarm. I’ve avoided the urge to scroll or check into social media until later in my morning.

I’ll just tell you my first honest, unscripted thoughts from the last few days:

  • This is hard and awkward. I guess I didn’t realize how much I used my phone to wake up in the morning.

  • Moments of boredom where I am tempted to reach for my phone for that sweet release of dopamine. Nope, I’m not doing that anymore. Pick something else.

  • Wow. Once, I propel myself into prayer or work for the morning I am so thankful I chose my agenda over the agenda of others on social media.

  • I’m back into a space of creating more— just a few days later— and it feels so liberating. I am no longer just a consumer, I am creating and it feels amazing.

  • I’m feeling lighter. I care less about what others are doing. I’m more engaged and more joyful. There’s something to this thing.

  • This simple practice of morning boundaries around social media is beginning to flow into my use of social media throughout the day. I stopping myself before I get on the apps and ask myself: am I getting on here to engage or am I getting on here because I feel _________________ and want to avoid that feeling? This question is really revealing and sets my intentions right from the start.

002. I’m over letting email dictate my day-to-day life.

I think it’s really easy to pull onto email in order to find something to do. And let’s be clear, there is a time for that. I do have blocks in my day that are reserved for email. But I’ve gotten out of the habit of making a solid plan for the day and into the habit of reacting to whatever is in my inbox.

When I don’t create the list, I succumb to the lists of other people. Nothing new gets created. Nothing creative ever happens when I’m in this cycle. And it burns me out.

I have things to create. I have new projects to start. I’m working on a few new courses.

I have a life that needs to be cultivated. A faith that needs to be tended to. A family that needs love and support. I have a life and no one else can live into it but me. Why would I check out from that the second I wake up?

I have to remind myself that my email is not my to-do list. There is a time and place for email and I can do email blocks throughout the day but it does not serve me to look to my email to give me something productive to do. It’s false productivity.

Since implementing this shift, I am on my email way less. Crazy enough, I am creating way more without even really trying. I am more engaged with the emails I do have to respond to. I’ve shifted away from idly scrolling through my inbox when I am in line somewhere or waiting on something. I know I can quickly respond to an email if it is important but I am back to the basics of better boundaries around my inbox.

003. I’m going back to my weekly social media sabbath.

I was taking a weekly break from social media up until the pandemic started. I loved my weekly break. It felt so liberating to shut down the apps and really be present throughout the weekend. I was cooking more. I was reading more. I was more alert. I was going for more walks. And then, as I mentioned above, I got trapped in the lie that I needed to be “on” or I would miss something.

I was nine months pregnant when the pandemic began so I convinced myself there were worse things than coping through social media consumption. But friends, when we tell ourselves these things, we are only limiting ourselves.

It’s not that social media is bad. But there is a time and place for all things. I’m done with thinking the time and place is all-day, every-day, or whenever I am bored, tired, hungry, sad, or overwhelmed. Social media is not my pacifier and I have to stop treating it as such.

I can make the excuse that I need to be “on” and therefore cannot take breaks from social media but who do I think I am? How important must I be if I cannot take breaks from some silly little apps?

I’m going back to my weekly social media sabbath— taking Saturday off of social media— because I need it. My soul needs it.

I think about Jesus and how he must be so aware of the burnout that comes from being on our phones throughout the day. I think he wants to remedy that and I don’t think we were designed to be consuming as much as we are right now. It’s on us to make the shifts though. It’s on us to say,

“Okay, I am done doing things that harm me or dull me or lull me into complacency. I am putting down the phone and stepping fully into my life. I’m done watching everyone else… I’m getting off the sidelines and back into my life.”


I always wanna hear from you:

Have you cultivated any not-so-cool pandemic habits?




  1. Joanne Viola says:

    Every point so well taken and it isn’t just you. It’s amazing the way the pandemic changed our habits even aside from the mandates. Did we even realize it as it was happening? Thank you for reminding me to take a few steps back!

    • Sibrina Tornes says:

      I agree. We just went with the flow… I definitely needed this. Thank you so much for being honest!

  2. Debbie Wilson says:

    I hear you. I find it harder to break bad habits than you’d think. The email one sucks me in too many days.

  3. Donna B Reidland says:

    So many important points. When we have any kind of online presence and/or do our ministry online through writing as many of us do, it is so easy to get sucked in by the popup or checking our email or making sure our post went up correctly … The next thing you know we have scrolled through a mindless parade. At least, I see that happening to me. Thanks for reminding us of how much of a time and energy vacuum it is!

  4. Lisa notes says:

    I find myself having to reevaluate and adjust my computer time often. It’s hard finding the fine line of what is helpful and what is harmful. You have healthy guidelines here. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Erin says:

    Love ❤️

  6. Becky H. says:

    I’m not certain how I stumbled my way into your corner of the world wide web, but I shall stay here and rest a while in the Truth webbed in these words. Thank you.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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