As Governments open borders and the number of Australians with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination increases, many social restrictions are being removed and activities and events are beginning again. However, life hasn’t returned completely to what it was before the pandemic and it’s absolutely normal to be worried about leaving your home as there is still COVID-19 transmission in the community.
- There are some activities outside your home which are low risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly outdoors
- Indoor activities have a higher health risk, unless you are just have fun with an online activity or game at home
- Don’t feel pressured to leave your home because other people are starting to, stick to what you feel safe with
We’ve pulled together some ideas of activities which you might feel safe doing as we begin post pandemic life, so that you can stay safe and healthy but also look after your wellbeing by having a variety of activities in your life.
One area Australia has lots to offer in is walking trails. You could go for a walk in a national Park or Conservation Park on your own, or meet a friend at a loop near your house to have a socially distanced walk and chat.
Many of the trails in suburban or city areas are flat and accessible, a lot of the time these are even bituminised. In parks the shorter trails are often the more accessible ones and may have informative signage or discovery elements which could make the walk more interesting.
National Parks and Conservation Parks aren’t all rural and there are lots of smaller parks near to cities and towns across Australia, so you don’t have to go as far as you think to find one.
A map of Australia’s accessible hikes is available here.
Photography is one hobby you can combine with walking to get your dose of the outdoors, and you don’t necessarily need a camera as most mobile phones have a good enough camera embedded anyway.
Other park based activities - like picnicking or birdwatching - are good ways to get out and about in the fresh air in a space where social distancing is always maintainable.
If you enjoy reading a book or doing portable arts and crafts activities, like drawing or crochet, you could take these to the park for a change in scenery as a COVID-safe outdoor activity.
Any sport played outdoors with your own equipment can be made COVID-safe as well. For example, you could join your friends for a hit of casual tennis as long as you use your own tennis racquet and don’t spend time too close to each other while socialising.
A round of golf with friends could also be safe if you use your own clubs and ball - but don’t touch the flag.
There is always the beach as well. If your usual beach gets crowded look further afield to a beach with less visitors if possible, or park the car at an access point further down the beach where people are less likely to join you. As long as you maintain social distancing, going to the beach is a safe post pandemic activity.
With any indoor activities you are considering, in buildings other than your own home, there will be a greater level of risk for COVID-19 than with outdoor activities. This is because the virus is trapped in the air and likely to hang around for longer, increasing the risk of exposure.
Some indoor activities may still be safe for you though, provided you keep your distance of 1.5m from anyone else, wear a mask, wash or sanitise your hands regularly and don’t touch your face.
Big, open, indoor venues are likely to be safer than smaller rooms like cafés, depending on how many people are in the same space and how you got into the venue.
Bottlenecks, such as corridors or reception areas which everyone must pass through, can pose a greater risk.
Museums and art galleries where you won’t be touching anything and you can easily social distance may be a good start for outings if you’re feeling more comfortable with how under control COVID-19 cases are in your area, although they still come with risks. Consider visiting at times when museums and art galleries are less popular to avoid most of the crowds.
Indoor pools themselves are safe, as COVID-19 is not transmissible through water, however you do need to be careful around the pool and in the pool building. If swimming or being in the water is really important to you, make sure you social distance from others when you go to the pool, wear a mask when you are out of the water and wash your hands regularly.
Online activities continue to be a great and safe way to interact with others without having to leave your house. And if you haven’t explored these options already during the pandemic, it might be worth looking into what you can access on your device from the safety of your home.
For example, you might find online board games, video games, apps or mind games which you can play either with friends or with strangers - it’s all up to your preference.
If you’re missing travel and tourism there are also a growing number of virtual tours available online which you could explore.
At home you can also set up obstacle courses, scavenger hunts or similar physical games, which you might just enjoy with your family, or you might feel comfortable to invite a couple of trusted, vaccinated friends over to join in the fun.
Tips for getting back out into the community
You don’t have to leave your home if you don’t want to because you are worried about your health. Try not to let other people put pressure on you and remember that just because other people are out and about, that doesn’t mean you have to be too.
Get help from professionals - speak to your doctor to get an understanding of the risks, you may also want to seek help through a psychologist to help you come up with strategies.
When you are ready, start with small or short, low risk activities to ease your anxiety about going out again. Stick to the activities which you know will be safe - likely outdoor activities alone or with one or two others who are socially distanced.
Keep wearing your mask, even if other people aren’t. Keep checking in everywhere you go. Get your booster shot of the vaccine if it’s safe for you, you’re eligible, and your second dose was at least five months ago.
Talk to your friends and family to let them know how you’re feeling and what you’re comfortable with to help them to understand that you’re feeling anxious about your safety in the community. You might be able to arrange a catch up online, a phone call, or they could visit and sit socially distanced from you outside your house.
Have you got any other safe post pandemic activities to share? Tell us in the comments below.