How to Beat the Social Distancing Blues

Updated | Published
by Carol Ebert Carol Ebert, MSN, RN

Specializes in Wellness and Coaching for Women in their Third Act. Has 55 years experience.

Looking for ways to brighten your spirits, keep up with your fitness goals, and take some much needed time-outs? Why not add walking to your daily routine.  You might be stuck at home, or even in a business with fewer staff but more work and stress. The good news is you can still go outside and walk to take a break.  And you don’t need a mask or protective clothing to do that as long as you follow the 6 foot distancing rule between people.

Do you need a time-out from Social Distancing?

How to Beat the Social Distancing Blues

Even tho I pride myself on being a Wellness Guru, I am realizing that this current reality is getting to me and I need to pull out all those wellness stops I can think of to survive. In the past, I was a runner but after physical back pain became an issue, I transitioned into walking. But is walking really enough to provide any significant health benefits?

I will admit that transitioning from running to walking was difficult because I held the belief that you couldn’t get the same benefit from walking that you get from running. Over time, however, I discovered that was a false belief so I embraced walking whole-heartedly as my new mode of exercise. So much so that at one point in my wellness career, I even coordinated the Shoe Crew, a walking club of 1500 employees from many businesses with challenges, big prizes, and data that showed participants lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and felt better.

The Coping Benefits of Taking a Walk

So now it is time to revisit the importance of walking outside as a way to cope with what is happening in our lives today. Here are some tips.

FACT: You have renewed quality time to share with family members

Social support may provide a resource for coping that dulls the detrimental impact of stressors on well-being. Those receiving support from their family members may feel a greater sense of self-worth, and this enhanced self-esteem may be a psychological resource, encouraging optimism, positive affect, and better mental health.

FACT: Your pet will appreciate exercising with you

Regularly exercising your pet is just as important as exercise for you. Health benefits range widely but include helping hip joints, reducing digestive problems, and keeping your dog and cat at a healthy weight, which decreases the likelihood of developing other health problems. And your pet will have fewer behavioral problems, as will you!

FACT: You will appreciate being in nature and all the benefits

Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function. People who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t.

FACT: You will have time to clear your mind

Spending time outside improves mood and reduces feelings of anxiety. We can focus better in nature, and our improved concentration can help us address feelings of stress and anxiety. Self-esteem can also receive a boost after time spent wandering outdoors. Peace and mental clarity is a big reason why being outside is important.

FACT: You will think more creatively

In one Stanford University study, researchers found that walking boosts creative output by 60%. New insights come to us when we “pause and unload” our minds. This process is necessary for creative thinking since otherwise we would be stuck forever in the same preconceptions and patterns of thinking.

FACT: You will reduce your stress level

Walking is relaxing — it releases tension from the muscles of the body through light exercise and distracts the mind from its own busyness. It is a rhythmic activity. Each step and swing of the arms creates a distinct cadence. Rhythm is known to lower brainwave frequency, as studies of the therapeutic value of drumming have confirmed.

FACT: You can break away from negative news for awhile

Walking is a great time-out opportunity that you control. Unfortunately, a lot of what’s going on in the news is out of our hands, and sometimes we must remind ourselves of that so that we can stay sane and work on what is within our power.

So what do you think? Sounds like a great drug-free healthy prescription that we need right now and is free! Let’s get outside and get moving!

Here are some inspiring quotes to post and share with others to encourage walking.

  • If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk. Hippocrates
  • An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. Henry David Thoreau
  • It is solved by walking. Latin phrase Solvitur ambulando
  • All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. Friedrich Nietzsche

Inspiring Role Model for Women in their Third Act

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2 Comment(s)

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 41 years experience. 4,295 Posts

Thanks. You just renewed my resolve to walk more.

GrumpyRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 40 years experience. 1,221 Posts

In UK advice is to only go out for a walk once per day. ??

"People are now only allowed to leave their homes for four reasons, with events such as weddings and baptisms banned, Mr Johnson said.

The four reasons you can now leave your home are:

shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home."

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