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Parts 1-3 were about “putting on your oxygen mask,” keeping up a routine and reading. This post is all about getting out of your house, even while you are stuck at home…
Social-distancing doesn’t mean you have to literally stay inside your home. Every single day that the weather has permitted I have sent my children out into our back yard to play. I spend time outside with them, too, because being out in God’s creation, even if it is only your own backyard, is good for the soul! Even secular science acknowledges that there is a positive correlation between good mental health and spending time in nature.
Sidewalk chalk, ice-pops, bubbles and water-play have all made appearances. In fact, I’m sitting outside as I write this article. I’m drinking a margarita while my children play and my husband grills our dinner. I can just feel my mental health improving.
Many things are changing, but your need to spend time outside is the same
When I first started making this series of posts, I was going to mention that you could go to a local park to camp, hike or just have a picnic. As long as you make sure to keep your family away from other people, you can still practice social distancing.
However, in the US, many state and national parks are now closed to the public. Also, many of the shelter in place edicts have made this kind of activity illegal.
This creates a particular hardship on people who live in apartments or other housing where they do not have access to private outdoor space.
Use whatever outdoor space is safe and available to you
If you have a balcony, patio or rooftop, then try to spend time on it every day if you can. Even if all you can do is drink your morning coffee outside, that is better than nothing. If you have children, try to get them to spend time outside too.
I used to sit out on my fire escape when I lived in an apartment. If you’re going to do that, obviously be careful. Also, now that I think about it, I have no idea whether or not that was legal.
…Okay, I looked it up. Apparently in New York it is legal, however, the FDNY “discourages” it. Good to know.
There is always something you can do
If you are stuck inside and don’t have any outdoor space, not even a fire escape, sit next to an open window! Being cooped up inside all day can make the world seem small and scary. You are not alone. If you need other ways to feel connected, then check out my next article.
However, if you do have access to a yard or if you are in an area that allows you to be outside, provided that you practice social-distancing, then there are lots of ways to get outside!
Go for a walk
Many places still allow outdoor exercise, provided that everyone who is not quarantined together stays at least 6 feet from anyone else.
Since my husband is working from home, I’ve been able to go for runs and walks without the kids. This is not something that I am usually able to do unless I wake up super early.
We’ve gone for a few walks as a family around our neighborhood since this whole COVID-19 thing started. It is a great way to get in some exercise and to spend time together as a family.
The downside is that there’s almost always at least one child complaining or crying at any given time. My children are 6, 5, 3.5 and 10 months, so it comes with the territory. On the plus side, the sit-n-stand stroller is a great upper body workout. This thing really is awesome, by the way. We take it everywhere if we’re going to be walking a lot with the kids. Seriously, it has 6 cup holders.
Do some yard work
If you have the resources available to you, it might be a good time to do some springtime yard work! You could do some gardening. I have not personally done any yard work lately, but my husband did get out there and pull some weeds.
It seems like a good time to clean up our backyard, too. I should get out there with the kids and organize their outdoor toys. It’s a nice thought, at least. Whether or not that is something that ends up happening remains to be seen.
No matter how you do it, find a way to spend some time outside while you are staying home!