What a long, crazy summer it’s been, as we’re living with minimal social interaction and long periods of isolation. Parts of our lives have changed without our consent, and we have to be on the lookout for developing symptoms. And those are just the challenges of living with ALS — never mind the global health crisis going on around us as well.
I’m so tired of being cooped up! Of course, to improve our energy and attitude, health experts recommend we go outside and take short walks in the fresh air. But what if deciding to step outside is no longer an option? Caregivers aren’t always available, and the weather isn’t known to cooperate. Where I live, we’re in for another week of triple-digit temperatures. So, I’m staying in, whether I like it or not.
In a previous column, I shared three simple things I do to help boost my energy and balance my well-being, especially when I hit a midday slump. These included looking out a window, breathing deeply, and physical movement. But lately, even these pick-me-ups haven’t been doing the trick, so I gave them an upgrade.
My window is boring
Taking a break to spend time looking out a window at anything that is nature causes our brains to release chemicals that enhance feelings of focused calm.
But the same view can become boring. So, how about looking out of someone else’s window? WindowSwap is a website that lets you gaze out of other people’s windows all over the world. No app downloads or subscriptions are needed. Just click a button at the bottom of your screen to switch to a new view.
My favorites include the ocean waves of Honolulu, and the canals of Amsterdam.
Humming to myself
You don’t need to be a musician or a singer to hum. It’s fun and easy, and it’s a therapeutic, self-soothing sound.
Research has shown that humming sounds, such as om, reduce activity in certain areas of the brain associated with depression.
Since humming makes me pay attention to my breathing, I turn it into a rhythmic exercise. For example, I breathe in slowly through my nose for a count of four then exhale humming slowly for a count of eight.
Dancing in my chair
Music has often been called the universal language of emotion because of the number of regions of our brain that are activated when we listen to it. Combine that with movement, and we’re dancing — even if it’s limited to dancing in our chair. Chair dancing is a great way to combine physical movement and self-expression, and it brings a smile to your face.
Sometimes I slow everything down, letting each movement align with the rhythm of my breathing. Or, I let an upbeat, toe-tapping tune take over and I rock till I’m pleasantly exhausted.
Self-care is intentional
We may not be able to control our circumstances, but we can control our reactions, especially when we intentionally reconnect with our body and energize our mind.
Try my three energizers, and let’s live well while we live with ALS.
Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.
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