With COVID-19 rates continuing to rise in the US, more than 200,000 deaths recorded as of September, alongside copious amounts of misinformation, many are questioning activities they should or shouldn’t be doing right now.
Whether you’re in desperate need of a new stress-relieving hobby or you’re looking for additional ways to maintain your overall health and wellness, finding COVID-19-safe activities can be tricky.
If you find yourself unsure of what you should and shouldn’t be doing during the pandemic, you’re not alone. So, here are some ideas of what you can do to make this moment in time a bit more bearable and safe:
When in Doubt, Stay Home
Unfortunately, with COVID-19, there are now a number of activities that are no longer considered safe. However, this doesn’t mean that we need to stop enjoying fun activities altogether. The biggest concern we need to keep in mind is the overall safety of our communities’ health.
This means it’s best to avoid things like attending indoor yoga, cycling, or boxing classes where people are breathing heavily and within close proximity to one another. It also means festivals, parties, and local events such as fairs and parades are not a great idea. This is not only to protect you, but to prevent you from spreading COVID-19 as well.
It’s also important, before engaging in any activity or visiting a place with other people, that you are constantly gauging your own health. You are the first person to know when you’re feeling ill and by being more aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 you can immediately self-isolate and get tested, rather than unknowingly infecting your community.
At the end of the day, as long as your activity meets the CDC’s safety guidelines, it’s okay to take a break from the chaos of the world and enjoy your favorite stress-relieving ventures.
Schedule That Long-Awaited Appointment
One of the biggest effects of the pandemic is the lack of readily available healthcare services. Many of us want to avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19 or potentially spreading it to someone else, and our essential healthcare workers are occupied with those currently battling the virus.
However, it’s still important to protect yourself from other diseases and illnesses in any way you can while stuck in quarantine.
Now that we’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 virus for almost all of 2020, it’s likely that you’ve been missing your yearly checkups with people like your dentist, doctor, and optometrist. You’re justified in being concerned about whether it’s actually safe to schedule a visit to your dentist or doctor during the pandemic, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that your overall health should remain a top priority — particularly these days.
Many health service facilities have implemented efforts to protect their patients’ and staff’s health. With regular current health screenings for every patient, social distancing practices, personal protective equipment for staff members, and mandatory mask-wearing policies, medical offices all over are working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while seeing to their patients’ health concerns.
Skip the Salon
One appointment you can skip for now though is your one at the hair salon. Getting a haircut inside a salon is still considered a high-risk situation. It’s hard to maintain a safe distance throughout the appointment as your stylist needs to have direct contact with your hair. Considering how many clients a typical stylist sees a day, there’s a lot of potential to further spread the virus amongst you and others.
And while a place like a doctor’s office can certainly be high risk too, a haircut isn’t necessarily essential like a medical visit. If you really need to get into the salon though, at least lean towards shorter hair appointments such as a trim instead of services that can take hours like highlighting and coloring.
Re-Imagine Your Daily Routine
A lot of things have had to be put on pause while the world battles COVID-19 and unfortunately, this means a lot of us are stuck at home, with little to do in terms of physical activity. Additionally, many people are also now working from home, which means overall, we’re getting a lot less movement and exercise in our daily routines.
This extended lack of activity can have a serious effect on our health and wellness. However, it’s still best to avoid places such as gyms and recreation centers as they can put you at risk for infection. Additionally, with most sporting activities canceled, you might be at a loss figuring out how to incorporate more fitness and other activities into your life during the quarantine.
Luckily, there are some simple, yet safe ways to stay fit and healthy while waiting for things to open back up. Some ideas include:
• Try an Exercise Ball: Sub out your regular office chair for an exercise ball that can keep your core engaged as well as help with better posture. If that doesn’t work for you though, opt for no chair at all and try standing at your desk throughout your workday to promote better blood circulation.
• Take a Lunch Break: Before the pandemic, your lunch break was probably a welcome respite that you readily took advantage of. Now that you’re working from home, it’s easy to simply work through your lunch or eat at your desk. However, instead of missing out on that crucial lunch break time, step away from your desk and go for a walk around your neighborhood. As long as you bring your mask and maintain social distancing practices, you’ll be safe and get some much-needed exercise and fresh air.
• Learn New Tricks: This year is definitely the year to try new, creative ways to stay fit. One of these creative tricks is deskercise, which promotes activity through simple desk exercises as well as stretching techniques that can help ease the pains that come with long periods of sitting down. Try them while you’re sitting on the couch, in bed, and of course, while working at your desk.
With everyone’s health already at risk, involving more movement into your routine is especially important right now as exercise can help your immune system and aid in your mental health, which has also likely taken a hit during this pandemic. While it’s still not completely safe to utilize gyms and yoga studios for exercising, with a little creativity it’s possible to get that much-needed physical activity.
Start a New Hobby
Another option worth including in your quarantine routine is a new hobby — one that doesn’t put others or yourself at risk. Try exploring new, COVID-19-safe activities such as gardening. Gardening presents the chance to get outside and get moving while creating a beautiful outdoor space that can add positivity and joy to your life.
Whether you’re looking to add the right trees to your front yard for better shade or you’re wanting to start a shared vegetable garden for your whole neighborhood to enjoy, gardening can relieve stress and give you some much-needed time in the sun.
Furthermore, gardening is something the whole family can get involved in, meaning you get more bonding time outside of watching TV marathons on the couch together. Of course, if gardening isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other safe hobbies worth trying such as painting, sewing, golfing, fishing, or hiking.
It can be hard knowing what is and isn’t safe to do these days and until a vaccine is ready, it’s best to lead with caution. However, with that said, it’s still important to address your needs in order to stay as healthy and happy as possible during this unprecedented time.
While it’s certainly become a lot more difficult to tend to our physical, mental, and emotional health, there are still activities you can do that help make life feel somewhat normal again.