Living in a COVID-19 hotspot (starting in March 2020 and still the case in February 2021), leaving the house has become something more cherished than ever before. Staying cooped up in my bedroom, working on homework assignments, and attending live meetings has taken up the majority of my time, and leaving my house has become a rare circumstance. Without an excuse to leave the house, such as going to school or hanging out with a group of friends, my days were starting to merge into an endless routine of Zoom meetings, homework, and assessments. Additionally, with virtual school I found myself staring at the screen practically all day. All my school is online, and there seems to be no escape from spending hours on the computer everyday working on school.
Eventually, I decided to make a change in my lifestyle. I started off by going on quick runs around the block so that I could get some exercise while being able to leave the premises of my house and enjoy the outside world. Running by my neighbors made me feel connected to them in a strange way, even though we kept our distance. Taking a break from the never-ending cycle of screens and leaving my room, which I stayed in 90% of the time, was truly a blessing. Then, summer hit, and I was back to a somewhat normal life. Although I wasn’t seeing friends as often, I was able to leave my house every day to work at camp and life felt back normal again in a subtle way. However, this ideal state didn’t last.
Somewhere about two weeks after Thanksgiving, the effects of groups coming together for the holiday was certainly showing. Our county went back into a stay at home order, meaning there was no leaving the house. Sports that had finally been running again were stopped, outings with friends came to a halt, and it felt like we were back to where we started in March. I barely left the house, and I was feeling stressed, cooped up in my room for practically every hour of the day. Searching for a reason to get out of the house, I started taking Georgie, our dog, on walks. I asked friends for podcast recommendations, and started a routine of walking Georgie every day of the week when I didn’t have practice. The short, but sweet, walks I took with Georgie basically made my day — it was my only time out of the house and left my mind refreshed and ready to work. After returning home I felt energized, more creative, and Georgie had gotten exercise, meaning he was a much happier puppy. In the end, I realized what needed to change for me — in my case, leaving the house — and made that change to better my physical and mental health while COVID-19 remains at an all time high.