When we were first introduced to the term “social distancing” and instructed to stay isolated in our homes to slow the spread of COVID-19, many people missed hanging out with their loved ones in person. Let’s be honest—yes, Zoom meetings with our friend groups are much better than having no contact at all, but they just can’t substitute for real social interactions.
The arrival of the warm summer months made it possible to socialize outdoors, as long as you didn’t gather in large groups. Having one or two friends over to chill out in your backyard didn’t pose the same risks as going to a wedding or being in a crowded indoor space. But as the weather gets colder, you may worry that you need to give up those minimal social interactions and head back indoors for long weeks alone. If the thought of cutting yourself off from your loved ones once again is causing your anxiety to spike, take a deep breath—you’ve got safe, outdoor options for limited socializing this winter.
You don’t have to give up those small backyard gatherings that have made the past few months more bearable for so many people. As the temperature drops, you can host casual backyard bonfires with one or two close friends to stay warm and stay safe at the same time! You may want to set up a proper fire pit now so that you’ll be prepared. Of course, it’s still crucial to be very selective about who you hang out with—stick with people who you know have been responsible about following public health guidelines!
Go For an Autumn Hike
As we move into the fall, the leaves will begin changing color, and thankfully, hiking on open trails can be a safe outdoor activity! It is definitely best to avoid popular trails that get more crowded As long as you dress in layers, you’ll be fine! In some regions, you can still go camping through late October, so if you want to get out of the house, explore your own backyard, and bring a friend along for company, research a few local campgrounds
If you live close to a U-Pick farm that has outlined specific safety protocols for their customers and employees to follow, this could be a great weekend activity for the fall! Plus, you’ll come home with plenty of fresh produce, which will give you a great excuse to experiment with some new vegan recipes.
Take a Stroll on the Beach
If you live near a beach, lake, or river, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time there this summer. And while you may not be able to hang out on the shore in a bikini in the fall, you can still make the most of your waterside location while going for walks. Even on cold winter days, going for a walk by the water can help break up the monotony of long days indoors. Yes, you might need to grab a scarf, hat, and gloves, but it’s still a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, and there’s nothing stopping you from asking a friend to join you!
Snow Day Fun
If you live in an area that tends to get heavy snowfall, you’ll want to make the most of your “snow days” this year! After all, what better way to let loose and enjoy a cold winter’s day than sledding downhill and feeling carefree for a little while?
There’s also a factor that works in favor of snowy day activities like sledding—it’s perfectly normal to wear a cozy face covering when you’re having fun in the snow and the temperature is below freezing! So if you do want to invite a neighbor or friend out with you, just make sure that everyone is appropriately bundled up before you meet up. And if you live near an area with a body of water that freezes over in the winter, you could also try ice skating.
Stay Warm With a Space Heater
You may not feel comfortable inviting people into your home during the winter months. Depending on the number of COVID-19 cases in your area and additional risks presented by the flu season, having guests over might not be safe. But if you have a spacious garage, you may be able to set up a space heater so that you can relax with your loved ones without entering your home or trying to brave the cold. If you do choose to go down this route, make sure to set aside some time to clean this space before your guests arrive and after they leave.
Figuring out how to safely balancing seeing your family and friends with slowing the spread of the virus this winter will probably be a bit tricky. But if you’re willing to bundle up and brave the chilly outdoor temperatures, you’ll be able to pull it off.
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