Tips and tricks for exploring safely this summer
Spending time outdoors is undisputedly an outstanding way to take care of your physical and mental health. This holds especially true in the climate of today!
But, is it safe to go outside? Luckily, there are safe and healthy ways for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors this summer. However, it is important to be cognizant of safety measures. Here we have a few tips and tricks for getting outside during COVID-19.
*Please always check and follow any local government restrictions and/or recommendations in your area*.
DOWN TO BASICS: First: explore the outdoors with people you are sheltering with. Large groups may put yourself or others at risk. When you do go outside in the wild, treat it just like you would in your city, maintain the 6-foot rule between yourself and others. Practice social distancing!
RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR: A quick and safe way to get outside for some sunlight is to play in your own yard. This may not be an option for all people, so if it is available to you- take advantage. Exposing your eyes to sunlight for as little as 15 minutes a day has been proven to dramatically increase your mood! (Although, we would recommend not staring directly into the sun.
PICNICS: A fun picnic outing could be a great option for you and your quarantined family! Just remember to bring your own household items, including a blanket. Picnic tables used by the public should be avoided. Stay close to home and have everyone use the bathroom before you go so there are no pit-stops or porta potty uses during your outing.
CAMPGROUND CAMPING: Tent camping in a campground is, unfortunately, not recommended this summer. Even when you space your tents far from others, it is likely you will use shared restrooms or other facilities. This could include a porta-potty at the campground (which, honestly, was probably not the cleanliest place to begin with) or stopping for gas at a public gas station on your way. Since campgrounds are used by a variety of people, it is best to avoid campground camping all-together. Camping in an RV could be an option, but when filling and emptying your tanks, remember to use gloves. (You probably would want to do that, regardless of COVID-19!)
CAMPING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: Planning an excursion involving backpacking or camping outside of a set campground is a safer way to go. Remember, social distancing may be easy at your destination, but be careful when stopping along the way for gas, snacks, and other camping essentials.
HIKING: Keep your hikes local! Now is not the time to get on a plane or drive across state lines to do that enticing out-of-town hike. Prep for those future hikes by exploring the land closest to home. Give some thought to which trail near your house you want to explore. Choose a trail that is not usually crowded, go on off times, and hike wide trails.
BACKPACKING: If you are hiking overnight, make sure you follow all the above guidelines under “Hiking”, and choose a trail that does not include stopping off in public areas. Plainly said- no hiking through small towns or settlements! This is for your safety and theirs. Make sure your backpack has everything you need for the duration of the exploration. If you are taking a commonly used trail with a need for handholds, remember that everyone before you might be using those same holds. Consider taking hiking poles and watch your footing.
SAFETY: Be ESPECIALLY careful exploring this summer. Not just with COVID-19 precautions, but with safety all around. Our emergency services may be working overtime right now, and we do not want to draw their attention away unnecessarily. Obviously, if there is an emergency, do not hesitate to call the appropriate emergency service. Be extra careful; it is always more fun to come home without an emergency story!
In a viral pandemic, nature provides a space to be outdoors and be apart. Overall, outdoors may be the safest way to “socialize”. Even at 6-feet, people who feel sick are more unlikely to be going out hiking. We are social animals and people are naturally compelled to go outside and feel free. There is a definite connection between time spent in nature and benefits such as reduced stress, depression, and anxiety. Avoiding people may be keeping us safe, but being outside, many agree, is what will keep us from going insane. So, during this unique epoch, we encourage those who can do so safely to receive and accept the wonderful effect being in nature has.