Getting out and about to engage in activities can be a cornerstone of your recovery process. Unfortunately, with many parks, streets, and public places closed, you might be having a hard time adjusting to these restrictions—and maybe even feeling isolated, as a result. However, while the attempts made by public officials are to prevent people from overcrowding public spaces, this does not mean you are restricted to having to choose living a life of confinement.
Open to Making Changes
Instead of feeling disheartened over the idea that you cannot participate in some of your favorite outdoor activities, the first thing you should do is embrace the change. View the current situation as an opportunity to take a new approach to your daily regimen. Review your goals and factor in the obstacles. How can you alter or change things in your day to overcome these challenges? Always be open to trying something new.
Safe Outdoor Activities for Exercise
If you like the independent element that comes with being outdoors, there are plenty of safe options for you.
Running is among one of the safest activities that you can do outdoors—so long as you are not running in a large group. Running is a great tool to utilize in your recovery regimen. Running helps the mind and body process and release stress which can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. During a long run, the brain releases endorphins which promotes euphoric and positive feelings. This promotes a healthy heart and increased stamina, which is good for your immune system.
Much like running, biking exercise also helps you to process and alleviate stress. Being aware of bike routes and riding during less crowded times is advised. Creating a route for yourself or using phone applications is a great way to measure your goal, whether long-term or short.
Hiking is also a great way to get the dose of nature you are looking for. This is an encompassing activity that will challenge both you physically and mentally. Hiking can offer wonderful views of nature, which in turn can create a calmness from within. Additionally, because it is physical, reaching a summit of a mountain or finishing a trail can offer a great sense of accomplishment. Much like running and biking, hiking is viewed as a therapeutic act promoting positive thoughts and energies within your body. The activity also lends itself to people of all ages. You don’t need to associate hiking with steep mountain trails, there are many flat trails along rivers and creeks that you can walk with relative ease.
Be Creative with Virtual Interactions
Maybe you are the kind of person who needs social interaction to help motivate you to get outdoors and accomplish the goals you set for the day. Just because there is an effort to reduce social interaction, does not mean you cannot be social.
Utilizing programs like Skype or Facetime could be a fun way to add the social element to your outdoor play. For example, if you normally play basketball with friends, you can find a creative way to shoot hoops without having to physically be around one another. You and a friend might consider playing a game of Horse while on a video call.
Also, if you are someone who just wants a partner to keep you motivated, arrange a time when you are each available to work out from home. Next, set up a phone or video chat for the duration of the workout—for added fun, you can choose to do the same workout together. You might take things a step further by connecting with friends and family who live out of state. Perhaps they can accompany you on a run, or walk. Change does not have to feel daunting if you can find a way to make it fun, so start trading ideas with a friend or family member and see what you can come up with.
Anxiety About Being in Public
It is understandable that during this time you are feeling anxiety to be out in public. Maybe this has affected your motivation to run, bike, or hike, or communicate with friends and family. Maybe you do not want to spend your time outside participating in strenuous activities. The good news is, you do not need to. You do not even have to go far. You can reduce all risk by sticking around the house or apartment—not all of your outdoor time needs to be associated with exercise and being active. There are plenty of ways in which you can get the dose of outside time you need without having to risk coming into contact with other people.
You can benefit a lot from gardening. It has been shown that just 30 minutes of gardening a day can lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that produces stress. Gardening also enables nurturing from within; seeing the result of something you planted and cared for not only strengthens your bond with nature, but it promotes confidence within. This is a special way to track your progress because you can harvest the fruits and vegetables you planted and eat them once they ripen. You also do not need a yard to garden. You can utilize a small outdoor space like a patio or balcony to set pots to plant seeds in. You can also create a garden-like atmosphere indoors by hanging plants, or potting plants near or around windows.
Chores such as clipping the grass, pulling weeds, cleaning the gutters, and trimming trees, might offer you just the right dose of outdoor activity. These kinds of activities could be beneficial to your daily regimen because they will help reinforce consistency in your structure.
Just sitting on a porch or balcony helps break up the cooped-up feeling of being indoors while offering you a number of the outdoor benefits you need, such as sunshine and fresh air. This is also another opportunity to create a fun and engaging activity. Transform your patio or balcony into your own personal cafe. This could be as simple as wiping down that table on your porch or balcony and sitting at it to enjoy a cup of coffee. Or you can turn it into a DIY project by arranging the table and chairs and dressing them to suit your desired cafe theme. You might consider inviting friends and family to join you for a cup of coffee via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone.
If you decide to choose an outdoor activity where there is a chance you will come into contact with other people such as hiking, biking, or running on a trail, you should prepare accordingly. Bring along a mask and some hand sanitizer. Also, packing water and snacks will prevent you from having to stop at a market or public fountain if you are hungry or thirsty. These small changes could go a long way to protecting you.
Remember to understand that however you feel about having to make these changes, this situation will not last forever. Choose in the best interest of your recovery. Remember that the world is facing this together, so you should not be afraid to ask for help if you are feeling lost in this situation. True Recovery understands this, which is why we believe in a model that is designed to address the needs that are specific to your recovery. To get help, please call us today at (866) 399-6528.