Health & Lifestyle
Side Effects Of Staying Indoors For A Long Time
Staying indoors for a long period of time is a situation that many of us have become accustomed to, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many of us feel the effects of this “indoor lifestyle”, with restlessness, disruption of normal routines, and an overall feeling of cabin fever becoming all too familiar. But the effects of staying indoors for a long time are more far ranging than the mere nuisance of whining children or the boredom of Netflix binges. In this article, we will take a look at some of the effects of this type of lifestyle both short-term and long-term and provide some tips on how to stay sane while being “stuck” indoors.
1. Negative impact on mood
According to healthline, Spending too much time indoors can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression, as humans are social animals. Our physical presence in spaces that facilitate meaningful interactions such as cafes, parks, and gyms are key in establishing relationships and community. Without these places, it can become difficult to stay connected to the people that matter to us. Additionally, the lack of access to “natural” spaces like parks can have an adverse effect on our mood and sense of wellbeing. For example, research has shown that people who have access to green spaces experience higher levels of wellbeing, lower levels of depression, and more meaningful relationships with others.
2. Increased risk of illness
Indoor living can also make us more vulnerable to certain illnesses as our exposure to germs in enclosed environments can be quite high. As we spend more time indoors, the risk of catching a cold, the flu or even more serious illnesses increases, as the tiny particles of saliva and other bodily fluids that we expel while coughing and sneezing can linger in the air for hours. Poor indoor ventilation can also increase exposure to these germs and put us at an even higher risk.
Furthermore, research from the Environmental Protection Agency found that indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air due to the presence of chemicals, allergens, and other indoor air pollutants. This increase in exposure to harmful pollutants can lead to an array of health issues, including asthma, allergies, and even cancer.
3. Unhealthy lifestyle
Staying cooped up indoors can also be detrimental to our physical health. It is easy to get caught up in a sedentary lifestyle when all of our activities are based indoors, most likely on a screen. Too much screen time can not only lead to neck and shoulder soreness, but it can also lead to problems like eyestrain, headaches, and in extreme cases, malasses.
The lack of physical activity can also take its toll on our overall health, as our bodies need to move in order to stay strong and healthy. Exercise has been shown to promote not only physical well-being, but mental well-being too. Staying indoors for prolonged periods of time can lead to an overall decrease in our physical health, as well as an increased risk of physical injuries and chronic illnesses.
4. Tips for avoiding the negative effects of staying indoors
Whilst staying indoors for a prolonged period of time can have some adverse effects, there are still ways that we can look after ourselves, stay healthy and enjoy our time inside. Here are some tips to help deal with the effects of staying indoors:
a. Get some fresh air: If possible, try to get some fresh air, even if it is just in your backyard or patio. A few minutes of fresh air can help clear your head and lift your mood.
b. Establish a routine: Establishing a routine and sticking to it can help keep us “on track” and give us a sense of control. Routine activities can include things like regular exercise and stretching, meal times, and screen breaks, etc.
c. Exercise regularly: Exercise has many mental and physical benefits, such as boosting endorphins and calming our mind. All you need is some light exercise like stretching, walking, dancing, or practicing yoga.
d. Connect with nature: Connecting with nature can have a calming effect and help reduce stress.If you don’t have access to any outdoor areas, you can still bring nature indoors with plants, artwork, pictures, and videos.
e. Connect with loved ones: If you can’t physically meet with friends and family, there are plenty of options for connecting with them virtually such as video calls, text messages, and emails.
f. Seek help: Don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals if your mental health is suffering as a result of being indoors for a long period of time. Mental health support is available should you need it.
In conclusion, staying indoors for a long period of time can have both short-term and long-term effects, many of which can be difficult and challenging to deal with. Although it can be hard to keep motivated when the majority of our day is spent inside, it’s important to take steps to look after our mental health and stay connected to those we care about. By following the tips outlined in this article, we can stay healthy, happy, and safe while spending time indoors.
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