We’d all agree that ‘Summer 2020’ has been like no other. For families across the country, we’ve certainly had a grueling trek through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the return of school this fall and the slow reopening of the economy, most of us are keen on taking advantage of what’s left of summer.
Ontario, for example, is in the 3rd and final stage of its reopening strategy. This means the return of family attractions, indoor dining, and all the other little luxuries. From road trips to family BBQs, check out our tips on making this month one to remember!
Hit the road
Although many airlines have expanded their list of summer flights, hopping on a plane just isn’t an option for most of us at this time. So if you’re got a car, the next best thing is a road trip. Canada is full of unique discoveries. And we bet you don’t have to drive out of province to find them!
If you live in Toronto, for example, consider taking a drive to Ottawa -- the long way. Ontario’s famous Algonquin Park is a lovely detour as you head to the nation’s capital. Surround yourself in wilderness with a long hike through one of the park’s extensive trails. Or stop in for a family picnic along the beach.
If you love wine, why not take a drive out to Ontario’s Prince Edward County? Instead of heading to the usual Niagara region (which can get crowded), book a charming B&B along the St. Lawrence or reserve a campsite at nearby Sandbanks instead. Stunning vineyards and sparkling beaches are the perfect last-minute getaway.
Visit the zoo
A family outing to your local zoo is a wonderful physical distancing activity. Your children will love waving to the animals, and will also appreciate the wide-open spaces to run around.
The Toronto Zoo, for example, offers pre-booked tickets to ensure everyone’s safety. Book your time slot online as tickets are not sold on-site at this time. Face masks are mandatory at all indoor exhibits and certain outdoor viewing areas.
For families who are more comfortable touring around in their car, the Toronto Zoo also offers the Scenic Safari. Just keep in mind that on really hot days, the animals will be in shady areas -- so it could be harder to spot them.
Plan intimate gatherings
Ontario currently allows 10 people within your decided social circle. So this means you could hold a small gathering at your home with those dedicated members. Since we have no idea what the fall will bring, spend as much time with those closest to you.
If you’re not comfortable letting non-family members inside your home, make the most of the outdoors. Backyard BBQs, marshmallows by the fire pit, and patio playdates for the kids are all excellent ways to spend these last few weeks of summer.
Take a digital vacation
We often sacrifice precious time with the person right in front of us for a distant person we’ll never see. Challenge yourself to limit smartphone and laptop use to what’s absolutely necessary, especially if you’re taking time off work.
Some families will put all their devices into a basket before dinnertime, so everyone can be fully engaged at the end of a long day. You can also instill good habits in your children by encouraging those ‘old-fashioned’ activities, such as boardgames, craft kits, and backyard sports.
Get your health back on track
Battling year-long burnout? Try working out instead. There’s certainly a proven link between exercise and mood positivity. Make a conscious effort to get active for even just a week, and you’ll quickly notice a difference.
Most exercise is free, especially when you’ve got great summer weather. So take a morning bike ride before the workday begins, or bring the kids out for a brisk walk after dinner. If you’re comfortable heading back to the gym, most are now open with capacity restrictions in place.
For those seeking more personalized support, a physiotherapist or fitness specialist can offer sound advice. And don’t forget that a good diet is key to long-term success. Cut out the sugary treats and processed meals. Instead, focus on whole foods that are rich in vitamins and good fats.
Take advantage of lazy summer days to tend to your emotional health. If that means knitting a hat or watching Netflix all evening, so be it. One of the best ways to practice self-care is to waste some time doing what you love -- and not feel guilty about it.
A lot of personal care services are also open under provincial reopening guidelines. Get a haircut, treat yourself to a massage, or enjoy an outdoor brunch at one of your favourite restaurants. After months of stress over the COVID-19 pandemic, the least you could do is pamper yourself. After all, you deserve it!
For more information on healthier living or to book an assessment, contact us here.