The surge in cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant is making Americans more cautious despite having full vaccinations. Morning Consult did a nationwide poll for the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) conducted from August 11 to 12, 2021 among people who mostly travel for leisure. Among the respondents, 42 percent stated they are cancelling their travel plans this year without rescheduling. More than half or 55 percent are postponing their travels to a future date.
While traveling will be avoided or postponed by many, people still need to have leisure. According to global research among 74 countries published in Frontiers in Psychology in July 2021, leisure activities help protect people’s health during the pandemic. Physical leisure activities promote physical health and wellness. Creative leisure activities are mind-nourishing and promote psychological health.
People are cooking and baking more during the pandemic not just because many restaurants are closed but because they have begun to enjoy doing so. Kitchen renovations are popular as these have become central to households. People began to experiment with recipes, from comfort food to gourmet and exotic dishes, as well as cakes, pastries, and cookies. Ingredients can easily be ordered online.
Outdoor cooking is also a current trend. Many households constructed outdoor kitchens with outdoor seating. Viking barbecue grill parts are in demand to keep equipment in good working condition.
Outdoor and Indoor Gardening
Cultivating plants is a fulfilling experience. Nurturing them and seeing them grow is very satisfying. Being around nature also has a beneficial effect on mental health. The oxygen created by plants benefits physical well-being. Gardening outdoors has the added benefit of physical activity.
Indoor gardening brings plants and their air-purifying characteristics into the inside living space. This improves the quality of air and brightens up the home. Sales of indoor plants are up. These are especially popular among people who live in condominiums or apartments with no outdoor space. Apart from rooms in the home, windowsills, balconies, and even fire escapes are used for potted plants.
People cultivate both decorative and edible plants. Gardening for vegetables, herbs, and fruits has the added advantage of providing fresh food for the table. There is even an urban gardening movement that is gaining a large following. People exchange their harvests to have a variety of fresh produce.
Working out is a form of leisure activity for some people. It releases excess energy and stress. Home gyms have also become popular in home renovations. People invest in home gym equipment. Even those with limited indoor spaces can choose portable or foldable models. Workouts can also be done without equipment, though.
There are aerobic exercises that can be followed online, including various types of dance routines. Strength training can be done using exercises such as push-ups, planking, squats, and more. Yoga and tai chi, as well as other practices, also qualify as physical workouts that are relaxing.
Those with enough outdoor space can do some sports in their backyards. They can set up a tennis court, a basketball court, or a swimming pool for laps.
Some people are taking up hobbies that maximize their creativity and creative expression during the pandemic. This includes painting with watercolor, acrylic, or oil and sketching. Some start to do sculpture. Air-dry clay is a good medium to start with that does not need a kiln. Art journaling has also become popular. Others go into crafts such as stamping, paper making, macrame, knitting, crocheting, and sewing. Those who are good at woodworking combine creativity with function. They design and build their own pieces of furniture.
Learning a musical instrument or improving one’s singing ability is also a creative pursuit that brings joy. There are lessons available online. There are also many apps on mobile phones for singing along to current hits or old songs.
For people who love writing, having a daily journal of thoughts is a great outlet. This is also a great time to write poetry, short stories, or start a novel.
Enjoyable Mental Stimulation
Games are fun and also keep the mind nimble. Video games are played even by people aged 65 and above. There are also many other games online like Sudoku which challenge mental capacities. One can play against other people online on games like chess and scrabble.
Reading will always be an immersive enjoyable experience. Now is the time to go through one’s stacks of unread books. There are also e-books that can be purchased online and downloaded.
The development of new variants of COVID-19 is continuing and vaccines are still catching up. Even health authorities do not know when the pandemic will truly end. In this situation, the home is truly everyone’s refuge. It can also be a place of leisure that provides fun and enjoyment to counteract the negative emotions from the pandemic.