2020 has been unlike any year in recent memory. It has practically everyone wishing it will just be over so we can hopefully have a better 2021. Obviously the most dramatic change is the global pandemic we’re facing. The lockdowns, lay-offs, and shortage of social interactions have caused people a lot of stress, but it’s worth remembering that there are still ways to (responsibly) have a little bit of fun. It’s far too easy to get trapped in an unhealthy cycle when you’re stuck at home. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of ten of the best pandemic-approved activities you can still enjoy as we wait out this pandemic.
- Go to the Drive-in – This is a good option for those of you who miss going to the movies. Even if your local theaters are open, you might still feel uncomfortable returning to an indoor theater. That makes the drive-in all the more appealing! Grab all the blankets, pillows, and snacks you can find. It’s also an easy way to stay socially distanced. The drive-in makes sure that cars spots are spaced out six feet from each other. Still, if you’re going to be walking to buy snacks, you’ll want to have a mask ready. One place you can try is the Mendon Drive, located about 30 minutes from Worcester.
- Go Hiking – There still might be some travel restrictions, but it’s always a good idea to get out and enjoy a little fresh air. And if you can get some exercise in while doing so, that makes this idea even more appealing. Be sure to pack enough snacks and water for a longer hike than you’re planning, and if it’s sunny out, consider sunglasses and sunscreen. Some trails and mountains have restrictions on capacity or parking and may even require you to reserve a spot in advance. Be sure to check online before you leave. The beautiful views of New Hampshire’s Mt. Monadnock make a reasonably challenging climb 100% worth it.
- Chill at the Beach – The beach is a good place to go and relax all while getting a good tan (or maybe a burn). Plan your trip in advance and get up early to prepare. Be sure you bring enough water and sandwiches or other snacks to last as long as you’re expecting to stay. Even though you’re outdoors, it doesn’t hurt to bring a mask just in case. You can leave it in a sealable plastic bag to keep any sand out. Once you’re at the beach, be sure to respectfully stay six feet apart from others. Remember, there’s plenty of beach to share! Nantasket Beach, southeast of Boston, offers plenty of sandy real estate to relax at, and the drive isn’t too bad from Worcester, especially for a whole day trip.
- Dine Outdoors – Even though indoor dining is back in a lot of places, some may still feel better being seated outside. That’s ok! There are plenty of restaurants that have this option, and it’s a good way to change up your dinner routine and take a break from cooking. You may have had a lot of time to work on your cooking skills, but nothing beats having someone cook for you.
- Try Yoga or Meditation – Yoga is a great way to get some exercise, work on your flexibility, and clear your mind. There are plenty of YouTube videos and walkthroughs you can watch if you need a little guidance. Try them on your own or with a friend (a socially distanced friend, that is). Take time to reflect and center your body.
- Walk Your Dog – Have you adopted a new dog during quarantine? Then it’s time to help them stay active and healthy by taking them for walks. You can do this around your neighborhood, at a walking trail, or even on one of those hikes we mentioned earlier! Just be sure to clean up after your pet.
- Go Out for Ice Cream – Luck for us, many ice cream places are already outside. All you have to do is walk up to the window and order, then either eat your frozen treat in your car or outdoors. This way, you’re avoiding direct contact with others as much as possible. Summer’s fading fast, so be sure to act quickly. And for those of us who are a little more health-focused, you don’t have to get a triple hot fudge sundae. A small serving of vanilla frozen yogurt will still hit the spot.
- Go for a Bike Ride – You know what they say—everything is like riding a bike. Once you learn, you never forget. But rather than making comparisons to riding a bike, why not actually do it? It’s a great option for staying active and probably more engaging than going for a run. You can ride a bike on a trail or on a long, straight road with high visibility. Remember that you don’t have to buy a brand-new bicycle. If you don’t have one, try looking on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for a cheaper, secondhand option. Just make sure that it has front and rear reflectors so you can be seen at any time by others. Oh, and don’t forget a helmet!
- Try Painting – As the great Bob Ross once said, “There are no mistakes, only happy little accidents.” Keeping with that advice, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a great painter or, well…an amateur one. Painting is a great way to clear your mind and let your creative side flow. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to unwind and practice a fun skill. And if you are on the more amateurish side, it might be best to avoid painting with oils right away. Even though Bob Ross makes it look easy, this medium can be a bit of a nuisance. Oil paintings can take days to dry, and you’ve got to keep paint thinner on hand. Acrylics and watercolors are cheaper, easier to use, and they dry much faster.
- Clean up Your Surroundings – Maybe you have a creek behind your house or live near a wooded area that you’ve noticed is filled with trash. Now is a great time to put on your gloves, pick up one of those long grabbers and a trash bag, and help give back to the community and the environment by cleaning these areas up. You and a friend can team up and cover more area together. If you’re alone, you can listen to music, a podcast, or just the relaxing sounds of nature as you work. It doesn’t get much more rewarding than this.
Hopefully this list of ideas sparks your interest and makes staying socially distanced a little more bearable!