The future can seem daunting and uncertain during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this uncertainty, self-care is increasingly important.
One self-care strategy I enjoy is physical exercise. I have taken the time these past few weeks to go for a run or do a short yoga session (DownDog is currently free and a wonderful yoga app) to increase dopamine and serotonin levels, help decrease anxiety, and stay positive.
It can be difficult to stay positive with constantly changing and worsening news, but I have been reminding myself to take things a day at a time. I don’t know what is going to happen. There is no way to know, but worrying about what will happen in the months to come only feeds into anxiety and worry. I constantly look for rays of sunshine to keep me going.
One ray of sunshine in life during these uncertain times can be pets. According to the NIH (2018), about 68% percent of Americans have a pet. Studies have shown that interacting with pets can decrease cortisol levels and lower blood pressure (NIH, 2018). Additionally, pets can decrease loneliness, boost moods, and increase feelings of social support (NIH, 2018). Pets can provide unconditional love and help provide a sense of purpose and feelings of validation (Harvard Health, 2016). I have been spending more time with my dog, Buddy, lately, and we both have enjoyed going for walks, playing fetch outside, and learning new tricks. Increased time at home has meant more snuggle time together as well. Spending time with my furry friend has certainly helped me stay positive!
Stephanie Crissinger, MT-BC
Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow
Living Spirit Therapy Services, LLC