According to the news media we are still in the COVID Pandemic. However, the good news is that the situation is improving greatly throughout most of the world.
Even Better News, Kauai has been doing exceptionally well through the entire pandemic. We have skated by with hardly any cases protecting our island from the spread, hospitalizations and deaths that have plagued cities across the U.S. Thanks to the strategies of Governor Ige, Mayor Kawakami and the Kaua‘i County Council.
However, the worry of getting Covid, the loss of jobs and income, closing of businesses, the lack of travel inhibiting individuals and families to be together for special occasions continues to stress each of our lives. Stress can be overt, observed as anger, meanness, unfriendliness, or sadly in verbal and/or physical abuse. For others stress can be harmful internally causing headaches, stomach aches and can even lead to ulcers and migraines for others it may have result in the COVID “10” or the COVID “20.” That is the gaining of 10 or 20 extra pounds during the pandemic. Ugh!
I’m going to give you some simple STEPS to reduce your stress, improve your health and strengthen your immune system.
Stress reducers improve your health and for most people increase your happiness. Stress reducers come in many forms. The best are active ones requiring physical energy. The physical exercise decreases the stress hormones and directs the harmful negative energy toward a physical positive outlet. These stress reducing exercises include surfing, hiking, biking, swimming, walking, playing with a dog or cat or horse, getting together with friends; sharing “humorous” stories and laughing is an additional health booster. Playing games; corn holing, cards, board games, volleyball, tennis, and golf are all great stress relievers as long as you keep a sense of humor with your competitive spirit ! Cooking, arts and crafts, sewing, knitting, gardening, painting, and all beach activities especially with children digging and making castles and sand sculptures are all positively good activities.
Now comes the BONUS: One of the very best stress relievers has enormous personal benefits. It can lengthen your life and fill your heart with joy and true happiness. This amazing stress reliever is “serving others.” Whether it is helping a child learn to walk, ride a bike or just playing with a baby, or filling the loneliness gap by visiting an older relative or friend to talk story or bring food. Tutoring, teaching playing a sport or reading to a child or are all great ways to serve.
Jeff Rutgard is the medical missions director for Project Vision Hawaii – Hawaiian Eye Foundation. He was on the Board of Native Hawaiian Health Agency on Kaua’i in the 1990’s and continues to maintain an interest in the health of Native Hawaiians.