KatTip to beat Covid-19 Tip Number 6 – Do what the Astronauts did in Space

What methods can we use to help cope with the s­­tress of Covid 19 confinement? As we muddle through these unprecedented times, we take a look at what CC Kat is doing. Here are 7 methods astronauts use when they are isolated in the wide expanse of space and pictures of what CC Kat is doing to emulate them.

1. Stay connected

A 2015 report by NASA explained that the likelihood of astronauts developing behavioural problems and psychiatric disorders increases as the mission lengthens. The risks are reduced by allowing the astronauts to make live video calls to their loved ones,

This is me staying connected with family, friends and patients everyday.

CC Kat, Covid 19 and staying connected
CC Kat, Covid 19 and staying connected

2. Talk about your stressors

While astronauts are strongly vetted for their physical ability and scientific literacy, future space explorers going on longer missions will be increasingly tested on people skills like interpersonal tolerance, empathy, and their awareness of others’ needs.

Crew members need to be open to discussing psychological stressors with each other.

CC Kat, Covid 19 and de stressing
CC Kat, Covid 19 and de stressing

3. Have a virtual vacation

NASA knows the importance of movies for escapism. The showing of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as well as other movies on a projector on the ISS, is a testament to that.

But there are other mediums that might be even more effective for mentally transporting people away from their surroundings. It has been shown that virtual reality (VR) worlds can aid the psychology of astronauts on long space missions.

On Earth today, current generation VR headsets, as well as videogames, might be the closest substitute.

Not many of us have VR headsets but videogames and Peppa Pig – Yehhhhhhhhhh

CC Kat, Covid 19 and watching Peppa Pig
CC Kat, Covid 19 and watching Peppa Pig

4. Hibernate the time away

In 2016, NASA funded research into a form of suspended animation that’s similar to what we see in sci-fi films where entire crews are put into a cryogenic sleep during long space missions. 

While we do not have this type of technology at home, it does highlight the importance of energy conservation and, also, sleep.

Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body shuts off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. It is absolutely essential for mental well being.

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.

CC Kat, Covid19 and KatNap
CC Kat, Covid19 and KatNap

5. Play a musical instrument

Playing a musical instrument can be an incredibly calming experience. 

Research shows that making music can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression.

There is also increasing evidence that making music enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses.

It’s little wonder then that astronauts have a long history of playing instruments in space.

CC Kat, Covid 19 and playing the ukulele
CC Kat, Covid 19 and playing the ukulele

6. Cultivate soil to stay grounded

NASA explains that astronauts tend to miss Earth in a sensory way — they miss the sight of a sunny day, the smell of grass, the feel of their feet touching the ground.

Astronauts were growing cabbages on station. 

The cultivation of plants and vegetables has well-documented therapeutic benefits. That’s why the potted plant is such a valuable resource when in confinement.

CC Kat, Covid 19 and gardening
CC Kat, Covid 19 and gardening

7. Training and planning ahead

NASA’s  approach to space training highlights the importance of planning ahead. . Rehearsing things over and over again…brings a sense of preparation that allows them to believe they can influence and change their circumstances for the better.

Those in confinement today might want to have a plan for how they will spend their day productively, or what they will do to stave away the boredom and keep healthy. Of course, it goes without saying that exercise should form a big part of these plans. 

Having a structured daily, intermediate and longer term plan gives us back control.

This is my weekly schedule – I am by nature a planner. Some rude people like my husband call me obsessive and micro-managing.

CC Kat, Covid 19 and planning
CC Kat, Covid 19 and planning

As you can see, I am giving myself a crash course on social media and optimistic that lockdown will be lifted after 6 weeks.

Until the next KatTip – KEEP SAFE, KEEP SANE AND KEEP FIT

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