Friday Factoid: Getting Outside in the Time of Social Distancing

Rebecca Girlinghouse, MA

WKPIC Doctoral Intern


Cabin fever is currently running rampant due to the need to social distance in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19.  However, isolating inside comes with its own problems including increases in anxiety and depression (Moore, 2020).  It is no secret that being outdoors and feeling the sun on your skin comes with many health benefits such as bolstering the immune system, decreasing depression and anxiety, and increasing a feeling of connection (Moore, 2020; Neff, 2020).  The questions, then, becomes, how do we get our much needed time in the sun while also maintaining safe distances?  Luckily, being stuck at home with ample amounts of time has lead people to come up with creative solutions to this conundrum:


  1. Go for a walk at a local park or hit nearby trails. To avoid crowds, you may want to either go earlier in the morning or later in the evening.  However, make sure that if you go, you continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and avoid interacting with things such as playgrounds, benches, picnic tables, and other shared equipment (Moore, 2020).
  2. Go for a walk around your neighborhood or explore a new neighborhood. If the parks and trails are closed or if such places are crowded, you can always get quality out door time just by walking around the neighborhood (Moore, 2020).
  3. If you have a backyard or porch, you can bring indoor activities outdoors. For example, you can work on your computer, do arts and crafts, eat a meal, or sit and read a book outside.  You can also have a mini-adventure and go camping in your backyard (Ben-Asher, 2020).
  4. Take up gardening. Now that the weather is getting warmer, it is the perfect time to start your own garden (Neff, 2020)!
  5. For those who cannot go outside or do not have access to a safe outdoors space, there are still ways to interact with the outside. Open your windows and spend some time near it.  You can read a book or do work while enjoying the sunshine and breeze.  You can also pick up a hobby such as bird watching, do some cloud-watching and learn about different types of clouds, or learn about and identify the different plants and wildlife you can see out of your window (Ben-Asher, 2020).


During these unprecedented times where we must be distant from each other while managing the stress that comes from the ever-changing and evolving information regarding COVID-19, it is important to take time for yourself and practice self-care.  However, if you are sick, make sure to get lots of rest and do not participate in the above activities until cleared by a doctor.



Ben-Asher, J. (2020, April 30). Creative ways to get outdoors while social distancing. Steamboat Pilot & Today.


Moore, A. (2020, March 28). Struggling with social distancing? Get outside, experts say. North Carolina State: College of Natural Resources News.


Neff, T. (2020, March 17). Six healthy things you can do to take the edge off social distancing. UC Health Today.

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