How my quality of life has improved – some positives of COVID-19

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For the most part, the number of positive COVID-19 cases and number of deaths caused by COVID-19 here in BC have been a lot lower than the health officials previously anticipated. We may never find out the exact reasons behind the lower than anticipated numbers but many studies have suggested it has to do with the early recommendation of staying home and the no travel restrictions before spring break started. After the Victoria Day May long weekend, BC is now slowly easing up the voluntary stay-home order. Voluntary in-school sessions will start on June 1st. While life will not return to normal until an effective treatment or a vaccine is found, people are starting to adapt to this new normality and be OK with it.

As you may recall, since we started staying home on March 13, I have gone through my shares of mental breakdowns. As restrictions start to get lifted and more social interactions are allowed, I have begun to feel more like my past self. Even though staying home, social distancing, and limited social interactions have introduced some negatives in our lives, we have also discovered some positives from COVID-19.

How my Quality of Life has improved – some positives of COVID-19

It’s a little surprising to say that there have been some positives of COVID-19. By staying home, working from home, practising social distancing, and limiting social interactions, Mrs. T and I have personally experienced some positives despite the devastation the pandemic has created on a global scale. These positives are apart from the obvious savings we have noticed by staying home and limiting our expenses.  

No more air travels

When I tallied up how much air travel I did last year, I was completely shocked. In 2019, I took 46 flights and spent 147.03 hours in the air (that’s over six days if you’re wondering). And that’s not counting the amount of time I spent in airports waiting for my flights and all the nights I spent in a hotel room. 

So far this year, I have only done two overnight business trips and only one of them required air travel. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy travelling for work and for pleasure. It’s interesting to visit a different city and check out what the city has to offer—but too much travelling for work can get old very quickly, especially when you’re away from your family for an extended period of time.

Thanks to COVID-19, business travels are on-hold indefinitely. Even when my work starts to lift the no travel restriction, it might be awhile before I travel again, as many businesses may still restrict visits from external visitors. Similarly, we also will have to reconsider going international for any personal trips for the next little while. 

I certainly can’t complain about sleeping more in my own bed. 

More time with the family

Since I have been working from home, I no longer need to spend about one hour each day commuting (sometimes more due to traffic). Instead of not eating breakfast with the kids and Mrs. T on days that I have to get to work early or go swimming and not having lunch together on weekdays at all, we have been able to enjoy all three meals together every day. With the warmer weather, we have also been able to sit in our backyard for lunch and enjoy the nice sunshine. We have also been having afternoon hygge together as a family. As a result, I have been able to spend more time with my kids and Mrs. T. 

Before working from home due to COVID-19, I really would only see and interact with my kids for four or five hours each day on the weekdays. I would interact with them for about an hour in the morning then about three or four hours in the afternoon and evening. Nowadays, although I am working during the day, I can still interact with them. I can easily take a quick five-minute break just to help Baby T1.0 with his Lego structures, or spend a quick five minutes playing dolls and teddy bears with Baby T2.0. Similarly, I have also been spending more time with Mrs. T. Spending more time with each other has helped improve the family relationships. 

As a family we have become a lot closer than before, which has been tremendously positive. 

Life isn’t as rushed

Before COVID-19, our daily lives were often very rushed. In the morning we would get up early, make sure the kids get dressed, feed them, brush their teeth, get things ready for school, and rush out of the door so the kids wouldn’t be late for school. Similarly, I would rush out of the door to head to the office in the morning. On the days that I went swimming,  I would wake up early at 5:25 AM, rush through my morning routines, so I could get to the pool by 6 AM and start swimming. 

On Wednesdays because of the Beaver Scouts meetings, I would have to leave work before 4 PM, get back home, eat quickly, and rush out of the door, so we could be at the meeting by 5:30 PM. The same rush back from work craziness would happen on days that Mrs. T had plans or commitments in the evening. 

On the days that I had to rush back from work to get things done, so we could get out of the door again, or so I could look after the kids, I would always feel flustered and frustrated. I hate rushing through things. Similarly, I always hated rushing out of the door in the morning. 

Fortunately, COVID-19 changed all of that. Since I have been working from home, I no longer need to rush from home to the office just for a meeting. If I have a 6 AM meeting (and I often do), I no longer need to get up at 5 AM and drag myself into the office half awake. I could roll out of the bed at 5:55 AM and get on my call just in time. If it was a video conference call, I could always throw on a baseball cap to block out my messy air. And because there’s no school and no after school activities anymore, we have not been in a rush to finish something just to get somewhere. 

Life during the COVID-19 stay-home order meant a slower pace. I have never realized how much we have been hurried all the time. I have realized how toxic it is. While I thought I have been pretty good at staying in the present moment and not constantly thinking about the future, I realized how it is extremely difficult to do when we are constantly being hurried all the time. 

After some reflections and pondering, I realized the non-rush-COVID-19 lifestyle is exactly what we have pictured our financially independent life to be—we can set our own schedules and have no daily expectations. Sure we probably will still need to rush out of the door to get to the kids to school on time, but we can certainly take on a more relaxed and slower pace on a daily basis. Having a chance to see and taste what our financially independent life might look like has made me even more motivated about becoming financially independent.  

As Mrs. T and I talk more and more about how we feel about our stay-home experience due to the pandemic, the more we realize that our quality of life has actually improved. 

That ain’t a bad thing. 

Dear readers, have you encountered some positives of COVID-19 in your life? 

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19 thoughts on “How my quality of life has improved – some positives of COVID-19”

  1. Great article! In addition to what you’ve listed, one of the benefits that I have noticed is the improvement in my diet. Now that I’m working from home, I’m not going out for lunch, coffee & snacks nearly as often as I did when I worked in the office. When I think about it, I’m consuming fewer calories/salt/sugar/chemicals than I was consuming before because I’m cooking for myself 98% of the time now vs. 75% of the time before. Pre-COVID19, I also went out for dinner with friends on a far more regular basis. Currently, I’m trying to do take-out once a week to support my favourite restaurants. The rest of the time, I’m eating at home.

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  2. I have a very hard time with the phrasing of “positives of COVID” as time goes on and it’s wrecking America, because we have a malicious administration that doesn’t care how many of us are dying. But I can call them unanticipated side effects because we have those. The lack of commute and morning rush for our family has been good at least. We don’t have any real relaxed times because we both work full time and have three dependents to care for but it is a kind of family time we didn’t have before for better and for worse.
    Financially, though I miss the help, I do appreciate the daycare money that’s not going out for now. It gives us more flexibility and a cash cushion at a worrying time for the economy and our local and regional world. We can afford to spend more locally than we could have if we were still paying for daycare and that’s an important thing to do.

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  3. Hey Bob,

    It’s great you’re focusing on the positive ends of the outbreak. Like yourself, I also have been able to spend more time with my family and the time I would have spent getting ready for work / commuting is being reallocated to provide more value in my life.

    I have been able to put more energy in my passion project on educating others on Financial Literacy through my YouTube channel.

    There have been many negatives to Covid-19, but as you said, it’s good to sometimes look at the bright side.

    – DG Capital

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    • That’s good you’ve been able to put more energy in your passion project. COVID-19 has turned the world upside down so it’s more important than ever to look for those silver linings.

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  4. I’ve also felt this way! Even though I have a lot of sadness about the world, on a personal level I actually have felt happier than ever. Another big perk is that more time at home has helped me start cleaning out my apartment (Marie Kondo style). It’s something I never wanted to prioritize when I was out and about but it has been so therapeutic to do it! I also realize how much joy I get from saving more than usual – normally the areas I splurge are travel and my gym. I miss them both but I do love seeing the higher savings rate 🙂

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  5. Great article. It’s important to focus on the “good things” every once in a while. Being able to spend more time with close family has definitely been one sliver of good to come out of this crisis. I continue to hope that things get better. In the meantime, it’s important for our mental health to not get bogged down in all the bad news.

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    • I continue to hope that things will get better too. Really hope things will slowly settle down and we can slowly go back to the old normal. Also wishing we can find effective treatments/vaccines.

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  6. Thank you Bob for sharing the positive aspects of this dreadful pandemic!

    Besides viewing it as a “silver lining”, your words inspire me how we all need to adapt. Whether we like it or not, the world has changed. Although I miss travel, I’m finding staying close to home isn’t such a bad thing. Keep up the good work!

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  7. This is exactly how we feel as well. The stay-at-home with the kids is fun. We don’t have to rush early in the morning and it’s a perfect opportunity to experience the FIRE-like-lifestyle. I love it. It motivates me to achieve FIRE even faster.

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      • It is a non event for us. We still fish, play tennis, run in the mornings with our friends and travel. I went on an 800 mile road trip last week to fish in the gulf with a friend, yesterday I drove across the state for a team tennis match. Turns out my hobbies mostly have social distancing built in. Also have done some off roading, one benefit of rural life is when you get outdoors there aren’t many other people around. No job to worry about, no kids at home and my small amount of consulting works fine on the phone. Other than wearing a mask to go inside a store or restaurant our live’s are unchanged.

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  8. Very happy to hear that you have found a new state of calm through all this. Being able to see all the extra we do that is not necessary has been like lifting a fog from the road, now hopefully everyone can see a better path forward.

    Reply

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