Fall is upon us and winter is fast approaching, and unfortunately—COVID-19 will remain part of both. While summer activities provided many opportunities to safely social distance in the sunshine and warm weather, the colder months may pose more of a challenge—especially as flu season begins. This means that our normal fall and winter social activities may require some adjustments.
Of course, the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 are wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting your flu shot (to avoid overcrowding hospitals). But staying safe during the colder months doesn’t mean you have to be tethered to your couch. Check out these fun ideas for getting out of your home for socially distanced fun in the upcoming months.
Pumpkin Patches and Apple Orchards
Nothing says autumn quite like heading to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect option for a jack-o-lantern, or enjoying cider and donuts at an orchard. Luckily, these fun outdoor activities are still taking place in many areas with proper precautions in place. Spend an afternoon getting lost in a corn maze, finding the perfect pumpkin and enjoying the autumn aesthetic.
As the pandemic continues, some activities have switched to a nostalgic drive-in format, such as movies, concerts and more. Find a fun drive-in event, pile in the car and get out of the house for a safe night out. You’ll hardly need to leave your vehicle at all, ensuring that your risk of exposure is small as you enjoy an old flick or some great tunes. If you’re a Priority Health member, you have the opportunity to attend our sponsored drive-in movies in Novi and Muskegon. Learn more here.
Some large spaces such as stadiums and conference centers have begun to use their space for smaller, socially-distanced events, with everything from concerts to food fests. Fifth-Third Ballpark, for example, has events scheduled for the upcoming months with limited capacity, designated spaces for groups, and other precautions to keep attendants safe. And on the east side, DTE Energy Music Theater kicks off its “Magic of Lights” drive-through holiday light tour November 13. Check out what large facilities in your area have on their upcoming calendars and see if there is something that might interest you. Be sure to check if the event is indoor or outdoor, and dress appropriately.
Depending on your comfort level, you may be interested in checking out private party options at local businesses. Many establishments such as art and pottery studios, wineries and museums will allow you to book a private appointment in advance for your group. Proper precautions such as mask wearing need to be followed while attending, but they still provide opportunities for fun outside of the home.
Another activity to get out of the house that may depend on your level of comfort is volunteering. COVID-19 has left more people and organizations in need of help than ever before. If you feel inclined to do so, find an organization you’re passionate about that has social distancing guidelines in place for volunteers and spend some time giving back. Places like food banks and soup kitchens are especially busy around the holiday season. Not comfortable going person, but still want to give back? Find more ideas here.
Many food businesses have been relying on outdoor seating to bring in customers during the pandemic. As it starts to get colder, it’s likely these businesses will come up with creative solutions like space heaters and fire pits to keep customers dining in outdoor spaces, despite dropping temperatures. You may also find that you’re more willing to bundle up than in previous years to enjoy distanced space outside. Check in with some of your favorite local places to see what their plans are. If you want to go right from your car to assigned seating, make a reservation using Open Table, which connects you to available reservations at restaurants near you and allows you to opt for outdoor or indoor seating.
Winter Outdoor Sports
If you’ve never tried a winter activity such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing—or if these are sports you already love—this is the year for you. These winter exercises not only allow you to stay distanced from others, but the same garments protecting you from the elements will play a big part in keeping you safe from the spread of COVID-19. Not to mention, these activities are a great way to stay active and burn some calories. No snow? No problem. You can still get moving outdoors by hiking some trails or going for a walk or run. As long as you’re dressed properly, the cold shouldn’t stop you from getting moving and having fun enjoying the beautiful Pure Michigan outdoors.
Though these don’t technically get you out of the house and many people have grown tired of connecting virtually over the past few months, these are still options to be considered for large upcoming gatherings like holidays. The winter and fall months are often about gathering with loved ones to celebrate, and that may not be possible this year because of travel restrictions and COVID-19 concerns. This is a hard adjustment to make, and though video chatting over Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning won’t be the same, it may help to lessen the disappointment over not being able to gather in person.
Getting out of the house may be a bit more challenging in the upcoming months, but it’s essential to find opportunities for joy and activities to look forward to for your overall mental wellbeing. It’s also important to make the most of your home to make sure it’s an environment you enjoy spending a lot of your time. This fall and winter may be extra challenging, so be sure to make your mental health a priority, and seek help if you need it.