Our Elevate briefing usually focuses on advancing best practices in research, content strategy and storytelling for the purpose of helping our clients grow their businesses. These are not usual times.
In today’s post, Rick Kupchella, founder and CEO of the Informed Engagement Network, talks to business leaders about an ‘essential need’ – a key healthcare or self-care concern that may be forgotten when half the population is under “Stay at Home” orders.
Don’t forget this “Essential Activity” in the State-by-State “Stay at Home” Orders
It’s easy… in the midst of the pandemic… to reconsider how we do what we do.
To change behavior… to mitigate exposure.
We’re closing ourselves off.
Paring back to bare essentials.
In so many ways.
But there’s one significant essential that can be lost at times like this… and that’s the value of simply – getting outside.
It’s not hard to see why!
At this writing (Wednesday, March 25th) more than half the nation’s population is under “Stay at Home” Orders… issued by governors across the nation.
There’s not a lot of ambiguity in an order like that!
But in virtually every case… right up there with exceptions related to “getting out to get your food” and “getting out to get your medicine,” is just: “getting out”.
True fact: Getting outside – even in the “Stay at Home” states – is considered an “essential need”. Are you getting out?
Most of the thousand or so business and media folks who subscribe to these Elevate postings are based in Minnesota. And I know a lot of them quite well. They’re always swamped. Today they’re just swamped while working from home.
Minnesota’s “Stay at Home” policy hasn’t even gone into effect yet (it starts tomorrow, March 27th) but many of us have been operating this way for a while.
Wisconsin announced their order on the 23rd. Both (and most all) come with a list of exemptions, generally referred to as “Essential Activities”… one of which is “Outdoor Activities”.
You can find Wisconsin’s clear exemption for outdoor activities – under Section 11 (c).
California’s order lists the exemption here.
Illinois has it here.
In fact, in Wisconsin, the ‘Stay at Home’ order applies to employees of state parks. And while the employees are gone – the parks themselves remain wide open. And there are no fees for people seeking a meaningful outdoor experience at state parks during this difficult time.
Amanda Wirth knows all about the importance of such things. She’s a therapist who works with people suffering from anxiety and depression… and what she calls “life adjustments”.
She says, “Covid19 is discussed in 99% of all sessions, right now. Anxiousness comes with fear of the unknown. This is really important for people. You have to get out.”
“It’s actually more important now than it might have been a few weeks ago, before the pandemic was declared.: Without it, “the little Vitamin D we’ve been getting on the backside of winter, the 2-3 minute walk from the car to the office, or dropping off our kids – unless we purposefully go do it now – we’re not even getting that!”
What’s the value of a walk in the woods right about now?
“It quiets the noise,” she says. “It’s all the social media and news and the creation of so much fear and worry. If we can remove ourselves from this – for even a little while – and reconnect with the simple ‘quieting’ of everything down, you’re going to find you’re naturally taking deeper breaths. This activity centers you. It hits all your senses. It activates your muscles. It brings you to ‘presence’ and it shuts out the rest – at least for a while.”
Ann Mulholland, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota & South Dakota took a long walk the other morning. Beyond the mental health benefits, she says, “There’s something very powerful about spending time alone… or with others… maintaining that six-feet apart”.
She acknowledged that messaging on this is tricky in much of the country. “‘Getting outside’ and ‘getting into nature’ are really two different things,” she said. “And social distancing is an extra layer on top of all that.”
New Yorkers may be relatively hard pressed to find a walk in the woods… without getting out of town. But no matter where one lives, the idea of getting outside should be a priority.
In the Twin Cities, it’s easier.
“Times like this really underscore the value – and importance – of urban planning,” Mulholland says.
Wirth called it, “an incredibly fearful time in the country and the world. But if there’s a silver lining here, it’s a reconnection to ourselves, our lives, and the environment. It’s important to follow the precautions.” And then she added: “But in doing that – remember to do it fully.”
Nearly a quarter of all the land in the state of Minnesota – more than 12M acres – is public. The state manages more than 30k miles of trails and boasts 67k miles of rivers and streams… and a whole lotta lakes.
Click here for a list of city or county parks in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area
In Minnesota there are:
In Wisconsin there are: