Wellness Wednesday Suggestions from our AmeriCorps team!

Stressed? Who isn’t? You are not alone right now you are part of the majority. When it comes to stress during times of disaster or trauma, we know that unexpected disasters are a huge crisis in a person’s life and can make someone experience significant and heightened stress responses. Stress responses are a normal part of the human body but when the stress response is a daily thing or lasts a long period of time it proves to be detrimental to your well-being. Most of us would be lying if we said we weren’t more stressed or more anxious because of the current COVID-19 crisis which has shifted all of our plans, has made us adapt, and given us a very uncertain, foreseeable future. Uncertainty and fear of the unknown is a significant form of stress that often goes under the radar. Feeling distanced and isolated from social interactions with others also causes higher stress as well as repetitive day after day tasks without a change of scenery. Trust us, you are not alone in this. Here are some tips of advice to help calm the anxious and stressed mind, especially during the “safer-at-home” orders that have now been officially updated in Wisconsin until at least May 26th.

Nature is the key!

What is the one thing that all campers, staff, parents, and administrators have in common? Our LOVE for the outdoors. Just because we are told to socially distance ourselves from others does not mean we have to be stuck, trapped, and on lock-down in our homes. Now, I am not saying we should gather all of our neighbors and have an outdoor get-together. But just because there are orders that are called “safer-at-home” does not mean we cannot go outside with our household and enjoy the beauty that God has given us to explore. Get outside! Nature is known to be a stress reliever so why not give it a try!
  • Exercise: Not only is some fresh air (and sunshine if we are lucky) helpful to increase your mood; the exercise while we are outside is another great added benefit to lowering stress and anxiety levels. Whether we are on a hike, bike, walk, playing hopscotch, or playing ball, anything to get us moving helps in lowering our stress and clearing our minds from all the “not fun stuff” in our lives.
  • Mindfulness: we all have heard it is good for our mental wellbeing but how do you just be mindful? Well, practice makes perfect but there is no right or wrong way to be mindful. It starts by slowing things down, and taking things using all of our senses to observe the present moment.
  • Try going on a mindfulness walk. A perfect combination of stress relieving, mood improving ideas combined into one through exercise, nature, and of course mindfulness. Walk slowly. Stop. Close your eyes. Listen to all the sounds around you: a passing car, a bird, an airplane, the crunch of your shoe on a leaf. Feel the wind and sun on your face, maybe a hand in your hand. Smell the new spring air. Open your eyes and look around: the bright green grass, the budding trees, the blooming flowers. When we take moments like this to be mindful of our surroundings, especially in nature, it can be so beneficial to help in lowering our stress levels.
  • Go hiking! Check out this latest article for maps and a list of state parks that are still open in Wisconsin. Then get out there and explore if you can do so safely!

Get in the Kitchen!

Still bored and need more ideas of things to do at home? Look no further. These activities should keep you busy for a while!
  • America’s Test Kitchen This website is a great way to get in the kitchen to experiment and explore! This awesome website offers activities, experiments, and of course recipes for you to try at home with those you love.

Art Projects, Virtual Zoos, & More!

  • Salt Art: A fun activity we should all have the supplies for to do at home!
  • Virtual Safaris and Underwater Explorations! Another great idea is looking up your local zoos or looking up bigger zoos like the Cincinnati and San Diego Zoo (as referenced below) and follow on their websites and social media posts to see if they are offering any interactive updates on animals at the zoo.
    • The Cincinnati Zoo offers at home safaris on Facebook.
    • The San Diego Zoo has the coolest website where adults can learn just as much as the kids.
    • Aqua: Here is an aquarium offering live interactive feeds of different exhibits as well as tons of different activities and downloadable content and coloring pages for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Yoga for Kids: Here is a Youtube channel that offers a wealth of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation practices specifically for kids!
  • Sign up to receive FREE weekly videos exploring different questions and different topics for all your kids being “home-schooled” during these times with Mystery Doug. https://mysterydoug.com/
  • Theme Parks! Bring the fun of theme parks to your home. Look up this youtube channel called SoCal Attractions 360 for awesome life videos to make it seem like you are riding slides, roller coasters, ziplining, and so much more discovering top theme park from around the world.
  • Or closer to home I found some videos that take you down the waterslides that are right here in our backyard in Wisconsin Dells.
  • Discover! Take virtual tours and road trips by visiting different state tourism websites. Check out our own state and explore and make lists of all the places you want to discover this summer and fall… but for now go on a virtual vacation.
  • Watch Discover Wisconsin episodes and explore the wealth of information they offer on their website. Want to go to a different country? Go on a virtual tour of Italy, Ireland, Germany, Madagascar, Australia, Iceland, etc. on a virtual tour of this beautiful world through Google Earth!

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