Dr. Laura and I have put together a list of 5 things you can do today to minimize the stress inherent in social isolationism:
- Limit time on social media. Social media is a great resource for staying in contact with our loved ones. When used as such, it can reduce our stress through keeping in contact with family and friends. However, social media is also full of unverified news sources, diatribe and rumor. Help reduce stress on your already fragile system by limiting social media hours (or as Dr. Laura has done, remove social media apps from your cell phone).
- Exercise. Despite the call for social distancing, government recommendations encourage citizens to take daily time to walk, bike and exercise outdoors. The sun promotes a feeling of wellbeing and direct contact with the skin promotes vitamin D generation. If you’re looking for something a little more intense to do at home, we have compiled a list local companies providing at-home instruction on our blog at jhbackcountryhealth.com.
- Eat healthy foods. Reducing sugar, alcohol and sources of caffeine can help put the body in a balanced state, allowing for immune function to thrive. Sound important right now? Alcohol, in particular, takes valuable bodily resources away from normal repair pathways and has been shown to reduce the immune system directly by reducing the number and abilities of macrophages, T and C cells. It also negatively affects the gut and can allow bacteria to seep through the intestinal wall.
- Use technology wisely. Schedule virtual play dates with friends and family. Communication apps like Discord, Facetime, Google Duo, among many others allow for getting in touch with those we love without the negative consequences of social media. Stay in touch with friends and family, and do your best to support them without judgement. Sometimes we have to let it rain and wait for the sunshine.
- Enjoy a good old-fashioned movie night! It is really hard to get Dr. Laura to calmly sit for a movie, trust me I’ve tried many times. However, a good comedy promotes a positive mindset. Laughter is a wonderful form of medicine that is protective, in the short term, against stress. Studies show reduced cortisol levels (the stress hormone) as well as improved immune function following bouts of laughter. It’s no joke, read about it directly on the Mayo Clinic website and even a research article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
All the best,