The Upside of Quarantine : Five Positive Things That Happened During Self-Isolation

After eight weeks of quarantine/self-isolation, my work-from-home time is coming to an end. Though I’m not sure how my company plans to go about the reopening yet, I’ll be heading into the office tomorrow for a team meeting to discuss how we’re moving forward.

Now, even though the COVID-19 situation impacted a lot of our plans for 2020 (like our trip that was cancelled or the fact that I haven’t been able to meet my newborn nephew and don’t know when I’ll get to) and I know it’s impacted many other lives as well. Thankfully we have our health. Thankfully we didn’t lose anyone we love. Thankfully we didn’t have a wedding or any major life event that had to be pushed back or cancelled. Though it’s easy to focus on all the negative ways COVID-19 impacted us, I thought I would spend my last day at home sharing a list of a few positives that came from it.

NUMBER ONE : I got to spend way more time with my dog.

I’m usually working at least 40 hours per week and I spend on average about an hour and a half driving to and from the office each day. By the time I get groceries, get home, make dinner, workout – I felt like I only had an hour or so to hang out with my pup before it was time for bed and to repeat it all the next day. It’s been great having him curled up on me while I do my work and it’s been great being home while it’s still light enough out to take him out for a well-deserved walk. Dogs definitely benefitted the most from this pandemic.

Spending time with Ren

NUMBER TWO : I saw some of my friends more than I normally would have.

As I’m sure you all know, trying to get together with friends who all have different schedules, are at different stages in their life or that live in other cities is sometimes a near impossible feat. With the world being shut down, it was easy for all of us to make time each week to get together for a Zoom or FaceTime hangout. I’m pretty sure I have a few friends I’ve seen more in the last eight weeks than I have in the last three years!

Getting our Zoom chat essentials ready

NUMBER THREE : I had time to enjoy cooking again.

I might not be a master chef, but I’m the one who prepares the meals in this household. Even though I’ve always enjoyed cooking, there is usually nothing fun about coming home and figuring out what to make (and then having to make it…) after I’ve been stuck in an hour of traffic at night. I’m sure I can’t be the only person guilty of falling into a recipe rut where you get into a cycle of repeating the same 5-10 recipes because they’re easy or they’re quick or they make enough leftovers so that you don’t have to cook the next day. Since going to the grocery store has been a mission, I found that I put more time into picking new meals to try and getting all the stuff I needed in the one big shop. We definitely found a few meals that will be in normal rotation when everything goes back to normal too!

NUMBER FOUR : I had more time for me.

Even though I was lucky enough to still be working – not having to do that commute and being able to work from home made me feel like I had more me time. It was nice to work quietly in my home office and not have to listen to the work radio station. It was nice to leave a treatment in my hair for a few hours while getting some work done. It was nice to get a home workout in during the time I would have normally spent driving to or from work. It was nice to not feel like there was somewhere I had to be or something I had to get done – everything was closed – I didn’t have to do anything or go anywhere or buy anything or make any plans. It was nice to play guitar again, it was nice to consciously make an effort to post on my blog or instagram and it was nice to enjoy doing nothing. Having this time off and not being able to go out really helped me realize how important making time for me really is. Even though I didn’t get to go on that vacation, I did get a break from my usual routine and had time to rest and recharge.

NUMBER 5 : I saved money and supported local where I could.

I didn’t spend the $600 I would have spent on gas over the last two months. I got a temporary discount on my car insurance. I didn’t spend money on coffee or lunch out every day since we made everything at home. I didn’t go to the mall or to Homesense and come home with impulse buys. Other than just a tiny bit of online shopping, I only spent money on the essentials or supporting local businesses. We tried to support our local restaurants with a few take out date nights. I pre-paid for my next haircut and manicure to help support those businesses as well. I bought a few puzzles and gifts from other local shops that were offering curbside pick up. I ordered wine through Niagara wineries rather than just hitting the LCBO. It was nice to rein in some of the spending and put some more of it towards making sure the businesses we love will make it through this too.

Ren being just as excited as I am about our delivery from a local winery

So while we’re all looking forward to the world going back to normal, I can’t help but wonder if it was a at least a bit of a good thing that we all got a chance to realize some of these positives. Maybe we’ll all be a little kinder, maybe we’ll all support our local businesses more, maybe more employers will realize that they can still run their businesses with employees working from home to relieve some of that rush hour traffic and it’s impact on the environment.

Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m going to go enjoy my last day off with my dog and try to break the news to him gently that I have to go back to work this week.

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