With everything going
on in the world and a lot of us stuck at home, most people’s daily routines
have been disrupted. Health experts are advising that we stay away from others,
and it’s starting to feel like cabin fever is becoming the norm. With that
being said, there are some things you can do to get out of the house!
My children and I are finding
ways to enjoy the great outdoors while maintaining a safe distance from others.
We have been going on walks and playing with our dogs. The fresh air does
everyone good, and looking at nature is a very relaxing thing to do (if you’re
quarantined with young children, you could probably use a little extra
Another aspect of our walks
that I’ve come to appreciate is that I’ve been able to see tons of friends and
neighbors who are also spending more time walking. As long as you aren’t coming
in close contact, this time can be a great opportunity to catch up. During a
tough time, it’s always nice to know you have support from your community.
I’ve been trying to find
silver linings in the “new normal,” and one thing I’ve noticed is…spring has
arrived! With the flowers starting to bloom, you can turn a simple walk in the
neighborhood into a nice learning experience for the kids to learn the different
types of flowers and plant life. Soccer has been another fun backyard activity. Also, I’m finding working
in my yard is very therapeutic. With spring right around the corner, it’s a
great time to show off some new plants!
Besides the much-needed
entertainment, spending some time outside can have major health benefits. Here
are some of the ways being outdoors can positively impact your overall
well-being, that I learned from Monica Sullivan, MD, from The Christ Hospital Physicians - Primary Care:
Vitamin D levels—all it takes is 15 minutes a day in the
sunshine to make a noticeable difference. Results may include improved
liver, kidney and bone health and a boost for your immune system.
stress—being outside regularly drops your
levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lowers your heart rate and elevates
your mood, which decreases your body’s response to and level of stress.
aromatherapy—whether it’s the smell of pine and dirt
in the forest or the aroma of salt and sand on a beach, nature provides a
natural perfume that produces a calming effect and increases the health
benefits of the experience.
easier and more likely that you’ll maintain an active lifestyle if you get
off the couch or out of the house regularly.
sleep—going outside often can help reset your
circadian rhythms, which set your sleep/wake schedule, and restore a more
natural sleep pattern.
productivity—expect better work or academic
performance when you spend more time outside. Creativity, alertness and
efficiency can also go up.
Of course, sometimes the weather does
not always allow for us to be hiking or playing in the yard, but there are ways
to bring the outdoors inside. We have had indoor campouts by making tents
out of blankets. That is always a big hit! We also love nature shows like
Disney's Chimpanzee and Blue Planet.
At night time, one of our favorite things to
do is look at the stars. We have a child's telescope and the whole family
enjoys it. Try looking online for specific stars or planets and see if you can
find them! You might not become the next famous astronomer, but you’ll learn
something new and appreciate the time spent with family.
And finally, try to remember that even though this current time has us spending way more time at home than
usual, there’s never been a better time to come up with creative ideas to make
each day interesting and productive. Stores and restaurants may be closed, but
the option to take a walk is still open…not to mention, it’s free!
The next time you’re finding
yourself stuck to the TV, laptop, or phone, try taking a break and getting some
fresh air. It can truly do wonders for your body, mind, and overall mood.
Need extra support right now? Your primary care physician can help. Schedule a video visit today.