Tired of sitting in the same rooms and looking at the same walls? Then get out! Yes, seriously. Not to places we aren’t supposed to go. I mean outside.

Practicing social distancing to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors doesn’t have to mean locking ourselves in our homes or apartments. Getting outside and exercising is a great way to maintain our physical health and strengthen our ability to manage what we’re feeling and make good decisions.

You may not have the energy or desire for an intense workout, but even a 20-minute walk around your neighborhood or in a nearby park can help you keep the frustrations and fears of the current situation from becoming overwhelming. That’s especially true if you make the effort to be intentional … to pause from your daily routine and search for the beauty that surrounds us. Noticing the plants that herald the arrival of warmer weather and watching the birds and chipmunks scurry around will distract you from thinking about how life was a month ago and what it may be like a month from now.

Believe it or not, research actually supports that exercise will release endorphins and those endorphins can help you shift your focus. Instead of fear, you might find yourself concentrating on hope. We may not be in control of the current circumstances, but we have the power to change our response. Staying inside on the couch most likely won’t lead you to feeling better about the current state of our world.

Exercise also reduces stress and keeps our immune systems stronger, so we’re better able to avoid getting sick … and if we do find ourselves with a virus or cold, a healthy immune system will allow us to recover far more quickly. That’s important, so we can help the others around us who may need more from us in the days and weeks to come.

So if you’re feeling cabin fever, or just plain stressed because you don’t know what to do, get out and walk. Make it into a visual scavenger hunt, or find things that start with each letter of the alphabet. Pause at stop signs and stretch a little but or intentionally focus on something you are grateful for. It will make a difference.

And most important, know that we are still here. If you’ve tried all the usual tips and still are having trouble focusing, still feel the anxiety consuming you, or are starting to feel depressed, contact us. We’re still open and here, waiting to help.

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