I’m Happier Than Usual During The Pandemic?! – April 2020

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April was one of the weirdest months of my life. As pretty much every country in the world went into lockdown due to the virus, I actually felt happier than usual. While my long-awaited holiday was canceled, I actually enjoyed my time at home in the Netherlands. Work? Don’t even get me started about that! All in all, I’m actually feeling happy and relaxed amidst this weird situation we’re all in.

Here’s a summary of what happened in April:

  • Our holiday to La Palma (an Atlantic island of Spain) got canceled.
  • We were able to book a weekend getaway in a relaxing and secluded cabin in the north of the Netherlands.
  • The weekend getaway was PERFECT.
  • I still occasionally experience insomnia, which is quite irritating.
  • Work is actually enjoyable again, now that a lot of stressful deadlines are gone as a result of this virus.
  • My girlfriend and I are walking more, cooking better food, relaxing more, sleeping better and enjoying this relaxing period.
  • I’m running and skateboarding more, which I still enjoy a lot!
  • I even manage to meet up with my friends to have a drink via Skype. 🙂

These are mostly good and happy factors! I want to show you a little more of the things that made me happy this April.

Here are my personal happiness ratings, neatly presented in a simple line chart:

My average happiness rating in April was 8.09, which is actually really good!

So what’s up here? Am I actually happier during this pandemic? Don’t I want this virus to be gone?

Well, yes, of course.

I think I’m just “effective” at keeping myself happy throughout this global pandemic.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re still allowed to go outside here in the Netherlands. As long as you don’t get together in groups, you’re free to go wherever you want in the Netherlands. So even though I don’t get to meet my friends and family in person, I still get to enjoy a lot of my usual happiness factors!

Positive happiness factors

Here are the positive happiness factors that I tracked this month.

I think this is the first time that skateboarding cracked the top 3 of my happiness factors!

Skateboarding…? Isn’t that for 9-year-olds? I don’t think so! I’m almost 27 years old now, and I freaking love it. Here’s a cool action shot of a kick-flip I landed recently!

kickflip april 2020

As I’m still allowed to go outside, I actually try to skate as often as possible. There’s a small local skatepark near to where I live, which is luckily not closed by the authorities. If it’s not too busy with actual 9-year-olds on skateboards and scooters, I just do my thing and really enjoy practicing and getting better.

I’m not ashamed of it. These kids think I’m the coolest dude around, and I usually impress them by just dropping in from the quarter pipe. Hell, if 9-year-old me knew that I’d still be shredding on a skateboard, I’d be psyched!

Anyway, there were a lot of other factors that made me happy in April!

Relaxing with my girlfriend

Out of the 30 days in April, my girlfriend had a significant positive influence on my happiness on 23 days! Additionally, I really got to relax on 19 days.

During a usual month, these numbers would not be as high, but during the pandemic?

My girlfriend and I really try to take it easy during these times.

  • We try to walk at least 10 kilometers a day, which is especially nice in the nice Spring weather!
  • After I finish work (from home), we usually head outside to our small balcony to enjoy a beer and a game of Yathzee (I’m not kidding!)
  • Hell, on Kingsday – a national holiday here in the Netherlands – we turned our balcony into an all-inclusive holiday resort. We bought drinks and snacks, turned on some music and relaxed in the sun all day as if we were actually on holiday!
  • As if this monthly update wasn’t embarrassing enough already, we also bought a 1500-piece puzzle on a whim. Hey, you gotta try something new every now and then.
  • We baked some cakes, tried to cook new types of food and even simulated a restaurant visit in our own apartment!

Long story short, my girlfriend and I really try to make the most of this time, and I think it’s working!

A peek inside my happiness journal

I always re-read a part of my journal when writing these monthly updates. It’s a nice moment to look back at how I did throughout the month, and I always catch some interesting things that I wrote.

The 17th of April was a typical and happy day during this pandemic. I worked from home and managed to enjoy my day despite the global pandemic. I rated this day with an 8.5, and wrote the following about it in my journal:

Woke up nice and easy and drank coffee with my girlfriend. Work was quite relaxing and actually dull, but I don’t mind! It’s nice to enjoy a nice lunch with coffee at home during my workbreak.

Went to the skatepark again after work, and it was fantastic. It went really really well, and managed to land a couple of 360-flips in a row! After a while, it got busy with kids so I had to stop. But still, it was a lot of fun. After skating, I relaxed on the balcony for a while, just to enjoy the sun.

My friends and I arranged a skype gettogether this evening. We each bought some beer, and played card games online while drinking and chatting, just as if we were in a bar. It was a lot more fun than I expected! It was a great day. If every day during the pandemic were like this, I’d be more than happy!

It’s interesting to see how little this virus is actually influencing my happiness.

  • Yes, I might not be allowed to work in the office, but at least I don’t have to sit in traffic and I can enjoy a nice lunch during my break!
  • Yes, I might not get to meet my friends for a beer, but we can still hang out online and have just as much fun!
  • Yes, the big indoor skatepark in my city might be closed, but I can still have fun at the local skatepark (despite the scooterkids!)
  • Yes, we might not get to on holiday, but we can still enjoy nature right where we live!
beautiful nature where we live april 2020
We got to enjoy the beautiful nature right near to where we live

Wasn’t I going to quit my job around this time?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that my girlfriend and I decided to quit our jobs this year. We’ve been planning to take a sabbatical to travel the world for a long time now, and 2020 was going to be our year!

Knock, knock. Who’s there? BAM, it’s the Coronavirus and ALL YOUR PLANS ARE CANCELED!

Yes, this stings a little.

I had already announced to my employer that I’d be leaving. Luckily though, I didn’t give my formal notice, so the paperwork was not started. Now that pretty much every country is in lockdown, there’s not a lot of traveling to do, eh?

Luckily, my employer and I agreed that I can work an extra couple of months for now. So for the next couple of months, I’m still employed as usual. After that? Who knows… My girlfriend and I will need to be very flexible, but we’re confident that it will all work out eventually.

About work…

I realized something funny this month.

My happiness at work is positively correlated to this pandemic. What does that mean? Well, it means that I actually enjoy my work again these days.

My company is in rough waters. Projects are put on hold or canceled entirely, no one is allowed to travel anymore and the offices are closed. The company is practically crippled, yet I’m enjoying my work more and more by the day!

Why?

  • No more stressful deadlines!
  • No more insane workload!
  • No more traffic jams during my commute!

So even though my job is not as secure as it was 1 year ago, I’m happy that I actually get to enjoy it again during these weird times!

How about that perfect weekend getaway?

If you scroll back up to the graph with my happiness ratings, you’ll see a clear spike at the start of the month.

My girlfriend and I spent that weekend in a small and secluded cabin in the middle of nowhere. We had everything we wanted:

  • Terrific weather!
  • A beautiful breakfast every morning
  • Bicycles to explore the area
  • A jacuzzi (!!!)
  • … and each other!

It was an extremely happy time for us, as we got to enjoy each other’s company as if we were on an amazing holiday. We played games, explored some of nature’s beauty, drank some beers and relaxed in the jacuzzi twice a day.

It was a perfect weekend in which we were able to forget that our planned holiday had been canceled at all.

yathzee vs cat april 2020
This cat challenged me for a game of yahtzee during the weekend!

Negative happiness factors

Before concluding this happy update, here are the negative factors that influenced my happiness in April:

There’s not much to comment on here, and I LIKE it!

The less negative factors, the happier I am!

I had a couple of sleepless nights again, which resulted in a bit of irritation and tiredness, but hey, at least that meant I could finish watching season 5 of Better Call Saul! Sure, not being able to sleep sucks, but at least it wasn’t as bad as other months!

That’s it for another monthly update. I’m looking forward to seeing you back here again next month. Hopefully, this entire pandemic situation will have improved a little. And hopefully, my happiness will still be as high as this month!

How was your April? What would you rate your happiness on a scale from 1 to 10 this past month? Let me know in the comments below!

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