Tips To Stay Positive During STAY-AT-HOME Orders
By Dr. Michelle Kmiec, OHH Founder
Millions of people are currently under Stay-At-Home orders to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Along with this comes the fears of a significant economic slowdown, lost wages, and basically, the ability to make “ends meet” has become a worst-case scenario for many. Thank goodness the government at all levels is doing all they can to ease our fears and ensure financial stability along with access to all essential needs.
But the thing to remember is that you are not alone. We are literally all in this together, and together we will make it to the other side of this crisis – and I believe we, humanity, will be far stronger than we could have ever imagined! Without a doubt, things have changed drastically in a very short time, but is it possible to focus on the positive that this crisis brings and keep the negative to a minimum?
I wholeheartedly believe the answer, YES! In fact, many examples are showing that we are already stepping up in heart-warming fashions.
- People are offering their time to help others in need.
- Businesses are offering their locations and skills to make necessary emergency care equipment.
- Rules have been changed in order for us to feel more comfortable during the stay-at-home orders (Included food and even alcohol home delivery.)
- The government on all levels is keeping us thoroughly informed (not to mention the occasional break from partisan sensationalism – wish it was more – in lieu of working together in unity.)
- And of course, being compliant with staying at home.
That said, there is no denying that staying at home has its challenges. We aren’t accustomed to seeing everyone in the household all day long, and it’s no secret that those we love the most are also the ones that can get under our skin like no others (said with much love, of course).
So how can we stay positive during this crisis? Well, not only do I believe we can be positive, but I also believe that we can become better versions of ourselves. We can have a better understanding and appreciation for those we love, ourselves, and humanity in general. And one more thing, improve our immune systems during the process! And that, I believe we can all agree on!
We can improve our immune systems by increasing our endorphin levels.
How Increasing Endorphin Levels Improves The Immune System
Endorphins are also known as the feel-good hormone (others include dopamine and serotonin.) Basically, endorphins are kind of like the cure for increased cortisol levels due to constant stress. Though cortisol is vital in certain situations, it can contribute to decreased immune function when stress is on-going.
This means we have two choices if we are under stay-at-home orders.
- Allow the stress of the unknown (money, health, etc) to get the better of us.
- Use this time to create better connections with those we love and to do the things you have always wanted to if only you had the time.
I think it is obvious which results in a rise in cortisol and which has the potential of increasing endorphin levels.
The following is a suggested list (and there are so many more) that will help start the process of “Operation Endorphin Release”!
Choose Lighthearted Activities
Aside from any work, schoolwork, etc that needs to be attained to, choosing lighthearted activities for all to take part in not only creates renewed bonds but also can reveal amazing things you learn about each other that go unnoticed during normal weekdays.
I highly encourage you to pick an activity outside the world of technology. That’s right, take a breath and turn off the TV, tablets/ ipads, and cellphones and go low tech.
Great examples of low tech lighthearted activities are playing board games or cards: both exhibit group participation, decision making and strategy, often resulting in amazing group conversations and laughter.
By engaging in play, not only does it reduce stress levels, improve mood, and stimulates healthy brain activity, it most importantly promotes feelings of well-being.
Oh, how we all love to laugh – especially the belly laugh! You know the type of laughing I am talking about.
When the laughter turns into the uncontrollable laughter that feels so good, it hurts (in a good way)! Your stomach tightens, tears are streaming down your face, your cheeks hurt, and it becomes difficult to catch your breath. If you didn’t know better, that description almost sounds awful, but you and I know that it is not only the opposite of awful, but a good belly laugh is the cream de la cream of laughing!
And to make it even better, studies (1,2,3) prove (as if we really needed a study to “prove” belly laughing is good for us) that the more you can belly laugh, the more endorphins you produce. And this translates into a healthier immune system!
Have you ever heard of Laughter Yoga? Per Laughter Online University (I love that!), “Laughter Yoga (often called by the media Laughing Yoga or Yoga Laughter) is a form of exercise initially started in India akin to internal jogging that promotes the use of laughter as a form of physical exercise.”
The video above is just one example of Laughter Yoga. There are literally hundreds more on YouTube you can watch and join in with the laughter. I don’t know about you, but I think we ALL could use laughter asap!
Take a Walk
Thank goodness walking outside is not only a great idea, but it is also highly encouraged. Of course, we need to be mindful of social distancing, and as long as you aren’t currently sick, walking outside does a lot to boost your immune system.
Above all, getting out of the house and breathing the fresh air, being in another environment other than your house and getting some much-needed vitamin D is enough to chase away the stay-at-home coronavirus blues. To learn more about supplements that can help boost your immune system function, check out Holistic Tips to Boost Your Immune System Against Viruses.
But did you know that simply walking, and especially in nature, also increases your happy hormones including endorphin levels?
As reported in Outside, It’s Time for Doctors to Prescribe Outdoor Therapy – Studies have shown that being outside has positive psychological and physiological benefits. Can the nature cure compete with Xanax? found that cortisol, as well as inflammatory cytokines, were dramatically lowered.
“The quality of the science and what we are learning is encouraging. If we could package the outdoors and call it a pharmaceutical, it would be sold widely.”
Well, I think that quote alone pretty much sums up the amazing benefits of being outdoors!
SIDE NOTE: Thank goodness they can’t make a pharmaceutical out of being outdoors!
Listen To Your Favorite Music
It’s no secret that music can trigger all kinds of emotions within us. It can spark long-forgotten memories, both good and bad, and it can instantly get you on your feet dancing to your favorite tune. Based on everything said so far, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that music and dancing can also increase those, yep you guessed it, endorphin levels!
So why not shut off all the technology in your house, except for your favorite music and as they use to do on the hit TV drama Greys Anatomy, Dance It Out!
Now I don’t know about you, but adding all of the above mentioned fun ways to increase your endorphin levels (along with all the other happy hormones), is a perfect recipe for fun and a much brighter outlook during these challenging times.
One thing I think we can all agree on, this sure sounds a whole lot better than feeling full of fear and worry! So turn off the freaking news that’s full of fear and dread for a bit and let’s have some feel-good, immune-boosting, and much-needed fun!