Escaping 2020: 2 in 3 Americans escaping COVID through new hobbies, odd jobs

NEW YORK — The pandemic has shut down a lot in 2020, but it has given rise to one thing, free time. A new survey finds nearly two in three Americans (63%) say COVID-19 has given them more time to escape into their hobbies and odd jobs than ever before.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 Americans reveals that the average American now spends just over six hours every week working on a hobby or a small job they’ve been putting off. The study, commissioned by Ally Financial, aimed to get insight on how Americans are choosing to spend their days as the pandemic still continues to affect day-to-day life.

Nearly three in four of all those polled say finally having time to spend on these hobbies is a welcome positive in an otherwise dreary year.

Hobbies are great way to take mind off of COVID-19

According to the results, nearly half have spent more time cooking than before the pandemic. Another 47 percent say they’ve been able to read and write more. A third of the poll adds they’ve also been spending more time gardening during these uncertain times, while four in ten are exercising more.

One in six Americans have even taken this time in quarantine to start fixing up their car by themselves. This could be a reflection on how essential cars have become for many Americans.

“At a time when many people have fewer places to go, cars and personal transportation are more important than ever,” says Ally Insurance President Mark Manzo in a statement. “The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we get around and it’s no surprise that people prefer the comfort, security, and health benefits of driving their own vehicle.”

Among car owners, 69 percent said they plan on driving more once the pandemic ends, rather than going back to public transportation. With social distancing and health being on most peoples’ minds, it’s not a surprise 62 percent of car owners consider their vehicle their own little “fortress of solitude.”

Interestingly, men (73%) are significantly more likely to consider their car to be their fortress of solitude than women (53%). It also serves us in a meditative way, with 72 percent of car owners saying that going for a drive alone allows them to clear their heads.

I’ll fix it myself

With the value of “personal space” making a comeback in 2020, the results reveal that our cars may be a more integral part of our lives going forward. Of those who own a car, 47 percent say that working on it themselves instead of taking it to a mechanic would make them feel accomplished.

Just because they might feel accomplished however, doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea to take on fixing their car themselves. More than half of all those polled (55%) agreed that vehicle repairs and maintenance is a job best left to professionals.

“Many Americans are considering holding on to their current vehicle longer, and it’s smart to consider a vehicle service contract to help keep your vehicle on the road and your budget on track,” Manzo adds. “These types of protection plans help cover replacement parts and repairs that fall outside the factory warranty—with the benefit of working with the pros at licensed repair shops and franchise dealerships.”

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