The Outside: To go or not to go; that is the question.


Ever since the beginning of lockdown back in March, one illness that has spread throughout the world just as rapidly and intensely as COVID-19 is paranoia. While an entirely justifiable response to the pandemic, it is important to remember to take care of our mental health during these trying times, and have some fun to counter the monotony of being shut in. There are definitely plenty of ways to do this without the fear of becoming infected, ruining the experience. These include, yes, outdoor activities as well.

Being in your car is completely safe, go watch a movie at a drive-in theater. There are currently sixteen theaters offering this service in Ontario. On May 30th, the state of Ontario announced the reopening of all of these theaters, many of which had lost popularity and business. Some of the theaters with best service near Toronto include Port Hope Drive In, 5 Drive-in Oakville, Stardust Newmarket, Starlite Hamilton, and The Mustang Drive-In. Many local bands have also decided to hold drive-in concerts, so you might want to check up on your faves’ schedules.

You could also always go on a drive to refresh your mind when you cannot bear to stay stuck indoors any longer.

For something more physical, health professors and infectious disease specialists have said that their top choice would be cycling. Cycling can provide good exercise and exposure to fresh air, while simultaneously reducing stress and anxiety that builds up from being inside too long. It can also help build up your immunity against the virus. However, don’t forget to wear a mask and only ride solo or in a small group.

Maybe try camping or a hike. Such activities are still permissible as long as you remember to only do them in small groups consisting of people you live with or have daily exposure to. Also remember to stay as far away as possible from any other camping groups you may encounter, and to maintain hygienic habits such as sanitizing and disinfecting during the outing.

Another failsafe way to interact with friends and family living elsewhere is through an outdoor picnic that maintains ample social distancing. Bring your own food and sit far enough apart to prevent any possibility of transmission – no physical contact at all, but close enough to be able to talk and hang out. Doctors have been saying since the beginning of the pandemic how important it is to have human interactions, so don’t isolate yourself.

If you want to satiate the urge to travel, there are various virtual tour services available online to help you. Some of the most famous museums from around the world, such as The British Museum in London, National Gallery of Art in DC, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Guggenheim Museum in New York, and several others are offering tours. Aquariums, parks, and zoos also have such services due to the pandemic, and you can find several options online. Many famous tourist attractions such as The Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, Disney World, and Universal Studios have also begun to provide virtual tours.

There are many fun and creative ways you can entertain yourself at home. The obvious ones include adopting a new hobby, but how about something more challenging? Several people from around the world have decided to take part in various innovative indoor challenges and viral trends. Photographers are participating in creative indoor photography challenges such as constructing scenic travel photos with illusions created using props from home, crazy dress-up self portraits, and split-second sculptures. There are others who are trying out new recipes and giving it their own creative flair, such as with the Dalgona coffee trend. Writers, artists, performers, everyone has challenges to take part in.

Understandably times are tough right now, and it seems hopeless that the world will right itself anytime soon. Which is why it is imperative that we do not allow paranoia or monotony to take over our physical and mental health. It could be something you are familiar with or a completely new field you want to try, whatever has you exercising creativity, being active, and most importantly, having fun.


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