Very few people have been truly quarantined in their house for the past year. Almost everyone has gotten outside for some reason or other. If you own a dog, you have definitely been outside. If you have ordered some type of food delivery, you have opened your door and had contact with the outside world. If your mailbox is not in easy reach of the door, you have gone outside to check it. It is not that we haven’t been outside at all. But many have not been outside the house just for the sake of it.
We go out reluctantly. We put on the face mask as if it were a hazmat suit. And we are sure to leave more than 6’ between us and the nearest person. For over a year, many of us have treated the outdoors as if to test and see if it is safe enough to reengage after a nuclear event. The good news is at this point, such fears are largely overblown. It is okay to get out of the house just for the joy of doing so. Here are a few things that will ease you back into the flow of mostly fresh air, no hazmat suit required:
See a Doctor
No one thinks of seeing a doctor as a fun outing. But many doctors stopped seeing patients in person during the pandemic. And while telemedicine has been great, it is always more reassuring to see your doctor and have your doctor see you. One of the secondary effects of the pandemic is that many people have put off all non-essential visits to the doctor. Unfortunately, seeing someone about depression and substance abuse issues have also been abandoned by the people who need it the most.
Find a rehab near Los Angeles and see someone. It is not unessential. It is vital. For all too many, it is a matter of life and death. You should also get that knee looked at. Get booked for some physical therapy sessions. As always, early detection is the key to preventing health disasters. Even if you don’t feel particularly bad, it is probably a good idea to book a physical. Seeing a doctor is probably not your idea of fun. Even less fun is needing a doctor after some health crisis has already struck. That is why one of your first trips away from home is to deal with all those little health issues before they turn into big ones.
Ride a Bike
Did you know that Metro Bike Share relaunched on the Westside? This is an exciting indication of recovery even if you don’t ride bikes. If you do, you are going to love getting out of the house and onto your favorite bicycle path. Just be sure to give yourself some time to work up to the stamina you had before. Things are a little stiffer and you will be a little more shaky than usual. Also realize that drivers have not been seeing as many bikes on the road and reactions might not be as fast as they once were.
As always, safety first. In addition to your helmet, you might want to grab the knee and elbow pads for the first few rides just to be on the safe side. If electric scooters, hoverboards, and other rideables are more your speed, the same safety advice applies. Don’t assume you are at the same skill level as you were before. Give yourself a few short trips to get you back into riding condition.
Have a Picnic
According to the CDC, it is safe to have an indoor gathering without masks as long as everyone is vaccinated. That is very good news because we are very close to having everyone vaccinated who wants to be vaccinated. If you also want to include people who refuse vaccination, have the gathering outdoors for safety. Lucky being in Santa Monica makes a walk from home picnic easy and there aren’t many places more beautiful. However, if you and many other locals have grown just a little bit bored of the same local walks, views, and parks try a coastal road trip for a day. If you go North you can do a short drive to Thousand Oaks or a longer weekend drive to San Luis Obispo. If you want to head south, gems like San Juan Capistrano or even as far south as La Jolla are also great getaways.
The CDC has been extremely conservative with its recommendations. Even they believe it is time for you to get out of the house. After you get a clean bill of health from your doctor or rehab provider, take a spin on a real bike, go to the park, and have a good time with friends and family. Now that you and your loved ones are vaccinated, it really is okay.