What a weekend of Social Distancing that was. After bars and restaurants have been (rightfully) closed across the country, all of us are looking for something to do to escape the confines of our apartments or homes.
Thankfully, most of the guidelines we’re living under still let us get outdoors. Only there was just one problem: too many of us did that!
We’re very used to the idea that going outside means going somewhere specific—to a park, a trailhead, a beach—that we have to go to nature. The bigger the city we live in, the more this concept probably applies to us.
All of us need to temporarily pause this mindset. Going to any destination, even a natural one, is an unnecessary risk of exposing ourselves or loved ones to COVID-19. Officials in Southern California recognized this danger over the weekend and closed some of the most popular trails in the Los Angeles area.
Luckily, nature starts right at your doorstep. Natural ecosystems don’t abruptly end just because rolling rural hills and pastures turn into roads, homes, and skyscrapers. The trees on your street are homes to birds and squirrels. The flowers on your balcony support hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.
When you walk through your neighborhood, you’re experiencing nature just as much as you might be while hiking in the woods. Sure the wonders may be smaller—the Instagram photos less dramatic—but now is the time to slow down and bask in the small joys just outside your window.
If that’s not enough, studies have shown that neighborhood walks are effective at calming anxiety and boosting creativity. Given how stressful each news cycle is and how much more time than usual we have on our hands, a slow stroll down the block is probably what we all need right now.
The dangers of this coronavirus are as grave as they are certain. We should all be erring on the side of caution and staying as close to home as we can, as much as we can.
Stay safe, stay home, and take refuge in where you live.