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Finding Comfort in the Outdoors During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

This week’s been crazy. We are in an unprecedented, unsettling situation with a lot of unknowns. Social distancing was a term we hadn’t heard before and now it’s a part of our daily vocabulary.

Although we’ve had to cancel many upcoming SheJumps events due to the virus outbreak, we believe our mission of getting girls and women outside may be more important than ever–it just might look a little different. Although we may not be out in big groups together wearing Girafficorn costumes, giving high fives to one another, we think the outdoors can provide a much needed solace in this strange and scary time.

There is a long list of physical and mental benefits that come from spending some time outside. Here are a few:

  • Reduced stress: Just 20-30 minutes/day spent outdoors can significantly reduce cortisol levels.

  • Mood elevation: Exposure to natural light has recently been shown to be conducive to higher self-esteem–especially when combined with “green exercise.”

  • Immune system boost: Spending time outside increases our levels of white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and diseases.

  • Vitamin D: Soak up the sun! It helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, and is GREAT for your bones!

We support the efforts and recommendations for social distancing, so here are some activities you could consider to get the benefits of the outdoors without putting others (or yourself) at risk as we all hunker down.

  • Go for a hike/trail run/bike ride.

  • Work outside while working from home.

  • Read on your porch or deck.

  • Eat dinner outside when weather permits.

  • Pick-up an outdoor hobby (photography, hiking, biking, outdoor yoga).

  • Take your lunch break outside.

Before you go outside, please consider your impact:

  • Continue to practice social distancing. Don’t put a social blast inviting your friends to join.

  • If you get to your outdoor destination and the parking lot indicates a big crowd, go home or try another location. Even if you’re spaced out across the trail, large crowds go against all of the guidelines of social distancing.

  • Minimize exposure and go solo or with the people in your household.

  • Explore close to home and discover a new park or green space. This is not the time for epic adventures or big travel trips.

  • Minimize your stops along your route, including snacks and fuel.

  • What’s the medical access for you and for locals in that area? Right now is not the time to travel to remote areas, small towns, or trying new tricks. Medical professionals are working hard right now and hospitals don’t need added patients, especially in rural areas where resources may be limited. See recent posts by @Pattigonia and @KatieBoue for more information on why this is so important.

  • At the end of the day, if you live in an area where you cannot guarantee you will be completely isolated from people—and yet still be safe—then we encourage you to STAY HOME during this initial attempt to #flattenthecurve

Get outside in a responsible way and start soaking up the healing properties of nature. We all need some of that right now - even if it’s on the back porch. How are you getting outside while social distancing? Comment or share your story and tag @shejumps.

SheJumps is here for you! Let’s support each other’s mental and physical health as we get through this together!

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