Staying positive with ALS during COVID-19
The unknown of COVID-19 in itself can be a bit unnerving, but it's crucial we stay as positive as we can, especially with ALS. Added stress can cause inflammation and weaken the immune system. As a patient with ALS, it is extremely important to keep your immune system as strong as possible and inflammation down. More information regarding the importance of decreasing inflammation can be accessed in the study, “Increased peripheral blood inflammatory cytokine levels in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a meta-analysis study,” which appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.
Beyond inflammation, lets talk about how to reduce stress during COVID-19, and in general. Ask yourself what you're stressing about, what you want, what you need, and who you can reach out to.
Tips and tricks to reduce stress
1. Laughter in general reduces stress hormones. Laughter is the best medicine! (Which I'm sure you have heard a thousand time, but goodness, it is true for me). Whether I'm looking at a silly meme on social media about people completely over shopping for toilet paper or watching a funny movie, smiling and laughing just truly makes me feel lighter and less stressed.
2. Replace the content you are reading with something positive. Try to refrain from reading the news and change it up a bit. I love reading encouraging books on self growth and reading the Bible. The joy I get from this is second to none. So go for it, pick out a positive book of your choice, dive in, or pick out an audio book to listen to.
3. Reach out to someone. Pick up the phone, write an email, send a letter, do something to connect with someone. It always feels good to encourage others. Connecting with someone and just letting them know you are grateful for them can make all the difference in your stress level as well as theirs.
Everyone has different stress reducers. These tips and tricks absolutely help me, but you have to find out what works for you. You may have similar or very different ways of diffusing your stress, and it's important you seek to find something that works for you. Ask yourself these questions: What makes you happy? What makes you laugh? What makes you grateful? Who can you connect with? Ask yourselves these things and make a list of tips and tricks that suit you personally. Put your list into action at least a couple times a day and leave the days of COVID-19 stress in the dust.