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Create a Fulfilling Stay-cation

You’re likely sick of your home right about now after several months of stay-at-home orders. But now that it’s summer, vacation season, what can you do that serves as a therapeutic mental refresher from home base.

1. Take a walk like a tourist: To see your hometown in a novel way, start taking walks as if you didn’t live there. Explore a street you’ve never walked down before. Look more closely at the blooming flowers, gardens, wildlife and even the sky.

2. Check out local hiking or biking trails: Now that you’ve paced or cycled through your neighborhood enough times to memorize the cracks in the sidewalk and dips in the road, it’s maybe time to see what nearby hiking or biking trails exist to blaze a new adventure. If you’re leery of uneven paths, order a pair of hiking poles that are growing in popularity (online they run from very low $19.99 and $24.99 from Target and Dicks Sporting Goods respectively, to $38 and 58 at REI). You can hit the trails with one of several Apps such as:

  • AllTrails – 50,000+ trail guides for hiking, biking and more. It even lets you save a trail for offline use so you can take your trail guide to the field.  Filters for dog-friendly, kid-friendly and wheelchair-friendly trails make narrowing down a choice easier. 
  • TrailLink – track down more than 40,000 miles of multi-use rails-to-trails.
  • Gaia GPS – lets you check out a plethora of hiking trails across the country.
  • Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder – a database filled to the brim with info on national parks, national forests and all other federal recreation destinations. It also includes every state and local park in the nation. 
  • Map My Hike – uses your phone’s sensors to track and log your hiking route, complete with information on pace, distance, calorie counting and route navigation. In addition to logging your own hikes, you can search and download other nearby routes. 

3. Delve deeper into the world around you. See a star and wonder what constellation it’s part of? Ever look at a plant and wonder what it is? There is an APP for that! 

  • Star Walk 2 – identify the constellations above you when you’re outside in the evening or figure out where to look for any stars or planets you want to see. 
  • Sky Walk – Star Constellations – open this app, point it in the sky and it names off the celestial objects right in front of you.
  • ISS Tracker – track the International Space Station with this app, that lets you know peak days for viewing when it’s passing overhead of wherever you are.
  • Seek by iNaturalist – helps identify plants and animals, shows you commonly recorded flora and fauna near you, and offers observation challenges you can do to earn badges.

4. Pick up a club or tag alone in the cart. If you’ve never golfed before or just puttered in the past, maybe now’s the time to get out on the course. Even if you’re not into golfing, you can join your spouse in the same golf cart (households are permitted to ride in the same cart) and bird watch or enjoy a change of scenery.

5. Pick up a paddle. While navigating unchartered “waters” during COVID-19, boating could be a way to explore a little beyond your home. Check out www.discoverboating.com/go-boating-today to find local boat rentals near you.

6. Get a license and “Go Fish!” – Fishing is PA is permitted, and another perfect socially isolating activity. Visit www.fishandboat.com to answer any questions.

7. If you prefer to keep even closer to home, consider rearranging rooms in your home so that they feel different. Paint or redecorate. Sleep in the guest room a few nights. Or dust off the old tent and camp out for an evening. Anything that breaks out of the ordinary can be refreshing and provide a mental vacation from everyday life. Check out Sherwin Williams Color Snap Visualizer, where you can upload and “paint” your own photo to try out different colors. The App “Room Planner: Design for IKEA” uses 3D to help you renovate or redecorate your home.

Staying home is an adjustment for everyone. But there are still plenty of ways to thrive during it all. Try out one or all of the suggested activities above and share your experiences with us on Facebook.

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