Early spring in New Hampshire can be finicky in its first few weeks but even so, it is still one of the best times of the year. With spring’s warm sunshine after months of coldness and the gentle breezes that come with it, few would argue that spring isn’t refreshing after a long winter – especially a winter made long by COVID-19 and living in a pandemic.

Still, even if spring has sprung, we can’t let our guard down when it comes to social distancing and safety. Yet with the good weather and warming days, there are plenty of ways to safely enjoy the great outdoors at UNH.

1. Exercise/take a walk

With many classes being online, sometimes it can be all too easy to find yourself sedentary as you’re held up in your room for most of the day. While the gym may be open, try allowing yourself to take advantage of the weather and use the world as your gym! College Woods can be a great place to get moving. Filled with a healthy mix of flat, twisting paths and steep hills surrounded by lush trees, getting a workout can feel more like an adventure than a chore!

Extra time in the sun itself can be greatly beneficial for your physical and mental health. Due to New Hampshire’s geographical location, Vitamin D can be hard to come by, making soaking up some of those rays (in moderation) good for your health. As for mental health, physical activity can help relieve built-up stress and improve your mood.

2. Photography

If you need to break up the monotony of your day, try going around campus and snapping some photos! College Woods is always scenic, but even going down Main Street or the pathways on campus can provide plenty of cool opportunities for photos. Once you get the hang of taking simple pictures, try challenging yourself! Start setting goals for your photography, like taking ten pictures of something blue around campus, or practice using dynamic angles to give your photos some extra flair. The best part is that once you’ve taken your pictures, you’ll not only have some prime Instagram material, you’ll have some great memories saved!

3. Homework/studying

Between living in a technological world and adapting to a pandemic, our screen time has increased dramatically, at least when it comes to college. Computers and phones may be necessary but try stepping away from your desk and doing work outside! The change in your work atmosphere and the fresh air may help your productivity and help decrease your stress. If you do decide to take your studying outdoors, try using a notebook and pencil instead of your laptop! That way you won’t have to worry about charging your devices or falling down a rabbit

hole of watching YouTube videos (we’ve all been there before). Plus what sounds more peaceful than reading and writing underneath a large tree on a nice day? Not much!

4. Relax/meditate

If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed between classes and pandemic life, leave your books and work in your room and just take a breather outside: lay back in the grass and try to find shapes in the clouds; set up a hammock and take a well-needed nap; close your eyes and feel the cool spring air blow over your skin. Even if it is just for a few minutes a day, dedicating a portion of your day to spending time unwinding outside can be excellent self-care.

However, if you’d rather spend that time with friends, you’re in luck! One of the best parts about relaxing outside is that you don’t have to do it alone–with all of the open patches of grass around campus, socially distancing as you hang out with friends has never been easier!

5. Picnic with Friends

Even though the dining halls around campus offer indoor dining, eating in a crowded dining room can feel stressful. Yet with good weather comes good picnicking weather!

An easily socially-distanced activity, outdoor picnics at lunch or dinner time with your friends can be some much-needed socialization. It can be too easy to feel pent up like a zoo animal these days as you alternate between work, eating and sleeping, so if you don’t have the spare time to take walks or sit outside and unwind, having your meals outside with friends can allow you for a comfortable escape.

Just keep in mind that even with social distancing outside, not wearing a mask can be a risk. If you do have a picnic, make sure to be six feet apart and keep to a small group.

So while the weather may be unpredictable at times, enjoy the nice days on campus while you can!

Photo courtesy of TNH Staff.