Disclaimer – Due to the rapidly changing situation around the world and locally, be sure to check local information for current closures and restrictions in your area.
Spring has sprung...or sproinged and that means a lot of biodiversity is coming to life. From the North to the South, Canada has enough nature to maintain social distancing and enjoy the outdoors.
For this blog, we discuss not only local Okanagan locations but also the activities that can be enjoyed here (and pretty much anywhere). To find the lakes, parks and other areas to enjoy nature where you live, use Google maps to search online or ask a local group on social media.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, activities and events have been postponed, schools across the country are closed indefinitely, businesses are shutting down, and people are being asked to socially distance themselves as much as possible. This is limiting our options for staying active and busy.
There are many free activities to get you out of the house and let your kids run around, without worrying about them touching surfaces like playground equipment, doors and other areas.
While we are practicing social distancing, you can go out and about, just be mindful of other people you come across and keep 3-6 feet of distance while you unplug and explore your local area.
BC is full of outdoor adventures that will allow you to escape the confines of your home and still find something to do with your family. Check out the hiking trails around your area to find out what adventures you can embark on. Here’s a link to Ribbons of Green Website, which has a map of local trails around Vernon.
- Rail Trail Okanagan
- Mount Robson
- Camel’s Hump
- Enderby Cliffs
- Swan Lake Trails
- Grey Canal Trails
- Predator Ridge Trails
Day Trips, Camping, Fishing and Lakes
Go for a hike on the trails or take a day trip to one of BC's provincial parks. National parks may be closed but luckily there are still some great places to explore. You may pass other people but, you can enjoy nature while maintaining social distancing.
The Okanagan has many lakes within a couple of hours of Vernon accessible to families. With the current crisis, escaping the city for a day can help ease anxieties and tension. It can also help your kids burn off some energy from being cooped up.
- Kal Lake Provincial Park
- Kekuli Bay
- Hidden Lake
- Shuswap River
Start a Garden
If you cannot leave your home due to self-isolation for symptoms or you are socially distancing by isolating, you can still use your yard to avoid going stir crazy.
If you have never done it before, now might be the time to start. Not only can you grow some extra vegetables and fruit, but you can enjoy this activity with your family or by yourself. There is great satisfaction from growing a plant from a seed and eating the rewards.
There are a lot of mind and body benefits too! Being outdoors, in general, is excellent for your health. Activities like gardening burn calories and help to strengthen your heart, reducing your risk for a heart attack and stroke. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, something we all need right now. Read more benefits in this blog, 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening!
Container planting is an option for those with limited spaces like apartments or small yards. There are so many ways to start a garden. It doesn’t have to be vegetables or fruit and could even be themed. You can choose just one or two things, or plant a whole variety.
- Pizza Garden
- Herb Garden
- Flower Garden
- Tropical Plants
- Desert Plant Garden
Try a new hobby or spend more time doing your current ones!
So many people have found themselves with extra time on their hands. This is perfect if you want to work on a project or hobby. Try something new, challenge yourself and make the most of it. Encourage yourself to do something every day, every week or every month for a year.
Here’s some idea to get you started:
- Write a book
- Take up colouring
- Learn to knit, sew or crochet
- Bake something
- Learn a new language
- Start a blog
- Take up bird watching
- Build a tree fort
- Try origami
- DIY renovations or creations
- Try tying fishing flies
- Start a daily or weekly challenge
- Document your experiences
- Home workouts and exercise
For those in Quarantine
Try to find games on your mobile device or game console and connect with friends and other people. It is important to stay connected when you are isolated from everyone.
- Play multiplayer games with chat
- Write letters to mail later
- Send virtual cards
- Have a Facebook live chat or use a tool like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype
- Talk to your neighbours across alleys and streets
- Call that person you have been meaning to
- Reach out on social channels
It is normal to feel alone or scared during a crisis that requires us to avoid close contact with others.
Don’t forget to shop local!
Many local businesses are closing until it is safe to re-open, but that doesn't mean you can't support them. Buying a gift certificate allows them to use the money now and you to get what you need when they re-open. Business owners still have child care fees, auto payments, bills, groceries and everything we do. By purchasing a gift certificate for later, you are allowing them to make some money now, while you still get what you need later.
Use delivery services or take-out if they are offering this service. Many businesses have added these services in light of the current situation. You still get what you need and they don’t lose money or service. Just call and ask them if they are providing delivery or take-out or visit their social channels to see if they have posted about it
If you find that the larger stores are sold out of items that you need, check out a small local grocer or corner store. Many of these places stock everyday items as well! Items like milk, eggs, bread, Tylenol, and even mall selections of canned goods.
It’s time to think outside of the box!
Our thoughts are with everyone during this difficult time. No more than ever we need to stick together and reach out over distances to connect. It won’t be easy, but we will get through this. There are lots of things that you can do to stay in touch and pass the time. YouTube is an excellent resource for DIY, activity ideas, exercises, tips and so much more.
A few more ideas for staying in touch:
- Host a virtual happy hour
- Post jokes and riddles on social media for a laugh
- Organize your photos and build albums to share
- Post throwback photos any day not just on a Thursday
- Recommend good movies to watch
- Share yourself - record a song, recite a poem, paint a picture, share photos from your most recent trip
We know it has been said a million times before, but we are going to say it again anyway...
Please listen to your local health authority! Maintain social distancing guidelines and proper in hand washing and sanitizing of high traffic surfaces. Cough and sneeze into your arm, don’t shake hands with people and avoid touching your face.
Social distancing may mean no crowds or gatherings but it doesn’t mean you can’t go for a walk, take a hike or use your yard.
A great mantra to keep you going comes from Dory, “Just keep swimming!”. We will get through this and keeping ourselves busy is an excellent way to pass the time, and an opportunity to try some of those things you’ve wanted to do but never had time for.
– Together, we got this!