Going Outside Is Still Allowed — And You Should Do It

Published on March 20, 2020

Feeling trapped? Bored? Anxious? I can’t blame you. Whether you’re under self-isolation or your home is one of the places under a shelter-in-place, it’s safe to say that cabin fever might be a problem that’s on your mind. I have good news. Going outside is still allowed, and not only is it allowed, but it’s also a good idea if you do it safely.

Social Distancing is Absolutely Necessary, But So Is Fresh Air

COVID-19 is officially a global pandemic, and it’s essential to take that seriously. All of California is under a statewide “stay at home” order. Businesses and schools are closing. Events are being canceled. People are panic-buying and just plain panicking. The situation is serious, but there are definitely ways to stay sane.

Even in California, Governor Gavin Newsom told residents Friday, “You can still take your kids outside, practicing common sense and social distancing. You can still walk your dog.”

Not only can you get outside, but you should. This is a stressful time for everyone, and as long as you practice proper social distancing, fresh air can only improve the situation.

You don’t need a dog or a child to go on a walk. Take yourself on a nice hike. Don’t put yourself or others at risk, but by getting outside you can replenish vitamin D and keep yourself from losing your mind trying to work from home and fend off boredom.

Many national parks in the nation are still open, with entrance fees waived so we don’t have to sacrifice safety from social distancing to enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you are lucky enough to live close to a national park, go take advantage of it.

Disconnect for A Little While

Besides the fresh air and vitamin D, getting out into the great outdoors allows us all to disconnect for a while. Schools are closing and kids are getting all their education from the computer. Meetings are now video conferences. If people aren’t working, they’re streaming Netflix or scrolling through Instagram or the news.

All this screen time can start to take a toll on mental health. That feeling of doom you get reading the endless stream of terrifying news? Take the dog for a hike. It will help. The boredom you feel while scrolling through your feed for the umpteenth time with nothing new to see? Take the kids for a walk around the block. It will help. Feeling anxious and concerned about the future? Go outside. It won’t cure the coronavirus, but it will make you feel just a little bit better.

Make sure that while you’re outside you stay 6 feet away from anyone else. Don’t walk in a group, and wash your hands (properly!) when you get home. These regulations are in place for a reason, and it’s important that we all follow them.

Olivia Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers events, entertainment, fashion, and technology. She also serves as a Voices contributor at PopSugar.

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