Getting outside regularly is crucial for our mental health and well-being, but it has never been as important as it is now.
With much of the country under social distancing and shelter in place orders, it’s not always clear what we should or should not be doing. It’s okay to go to the grocery store once a week, but not to the gym. However, it is perfectly acceptable to get out into nature as long as you practice the rules of social distancing, which include washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitizer and staying at least six feet away from anyone you come in contact with out on the trail.
Getting outside during this trying time can be great for your mental health, and you’ll get a little exercise, too!
Check with your local parks as to which trails, fishing ponds, and kayaking streams may be open right now. Playgrounds and ball courts have been closed in many places, but you can still go for a paddle in the stream or go for a hike on the trails. Bicycling outdoors, whether on appropriate trails or in your neighborhood, can get you back to feeling balanced, too. At the very least you should go for a walk every day and say hello to your neighbors – even the brief social contact will do a lot to lift your spirits.
While we’re all practicing social distancing, it’s important to not slide into social isolation. Make a point to call people and write letters when you can and get outside and say hello to people face-to-face as often as possible while remaining at a safe distance. Learn more about preventing feelings of isolation during social distancing below.