Judy Rae

COVID-19: Tips for Having Fun and Being Safe Outdoors

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The COVID-19 pandemic feels a lot like a rollercoaster. At first, we were told not to worry about it. Then it became apparent that we should worry about it. There were initially talks of flattening the curve, now it’s become about eradicating the virus completely. Originally, masks were said not to be effective – now it’s said that they are. (But perhaps only for certain types of masks.) At one point, numbers were skyrocketing. Then they started declining. Now we’re seeing a second spike in many parts of the country.

 It doesn’t matter where you live, what your circumstances are, what sort of political ideology or worldview you have, or how much medical knowledge you possess – this whole pandemic has been scary, confusing, and overwhelming.

 It’s hard to know who to listen to, what advice to accept, and which reports to ignore. But this much we do know: Spending time outside is directly linked to improved mental health and emotional well-being. And if there were ever a situation that called for spending more time outside, this is it.

 

6 Ideas for Safe Outside Fun

 As long as you practice proper social distancing and limit your interactions with other humans, there’s nothing unsafe about spending time outside. Here are some ways you can have fun without increasing your risk of contracting the novel coronavirus:

 

  1. Go for a Walk

 For most people, the easiest option is to go for a walk. This is especially practical if you live in a residential neighborhood where you’re able to walk without coming into direct contact with many people. (If you live in a busy urban area, you have to be cautious, as you could encounter crowded sidewalks and other densely populated areas.)

 For those in residential areas, try walking with a friend. The safest way to do this is by walking on opposite sides of the neighborhood street. This provides ample space, but still permits you to conversate.

 

  1. Visit a Park

 As more state and national parks open back up, there are more opportunities to retreat into nature and try a hiking trail. You can even take a picnic lunch with you and make a day out of it!

 

  1. Have a Backyard Fire

 Though the weather is warming up, there’s nothing better than enjoying a backyard fire on a cool summer evening. If you already have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, great! Go enjoy it!

 If you don’t already have one, you can make a project out of it. Set a budget, select a design, choose your features, and go for it. As long as you all maintain your six feet of distance, there’s no reason you can’t invite a few friends or neighbors over to enjoy your new addition.

 

  1. Do Some Landscaping

 Yard work isn’t the most fun or exciting item on your to-do list, but it’s probably something you could pay a little more attention to. If you find yourself with a bunch of free time on your hands, do some landscaping projects around the house. This may include pressure washing the driveway, trimming shrubs, or pulling weeds. You could even plant a few trees or install a new flower bed around your mailbox.

 

  1. Take a Swim

 Get out of the house and go for a swim. There’s no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus spreads through hot tubs, pools, or spas. The disinfectants used to clean the water – including bromine and chlorine – are strong enough to kill off the virus. (The bigger risk is the close contact with people in the water or on land. So as long as you maintain the proper social distance, the CDC says you should be fine.)

 

  1. Play Yard Games

 For those who would prefer to stay in their own backyard, lawn games are an excellent option. They’re fun, competitive, and engaging. Popular options include cornhole, horseshoes, Spikeball, Kan Jam, and Bocce.

 

Get Some Fresh Air

 Spending 24 hours a day isolated inside your home or apartment binge watching Netflix isn’t good for your physical, mental, or emotional health. Now that the weather has warmed up, you have ample opportunities to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Pick one of two of the activities on this list and try them this week!

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