What if you were told you couldn’t go outside? How would this affect your mind and body? Could staying inside actually benefit you?
There is no denying the psychological and physical benefits of being outdoors, connecting with nature, and surrounding yourself with friends and family. Combine this with exercise, and it’s even better!
Going outside can improve all aspects of your life. Your immune system, blood pressure, and stress levels. It can also improve your memory and overall mental well-being.
It is important to spend time in nature, soak up the sun, and absorb some of that essential Vitamin D… So, we all can agree, let’s get outside!!
But what if you were told you had to stay inside? Adjusting to this new lifestyle shouldn’t be too hard, considering the average American spends 87% of their time indoors.
Only 7% of that time is outside, and the other 6% in the car or other forms of transportation. Seeking shelter is a basic human need, and we now live in a society that encourages us to stay inside.
Major grocery stores can deliver fresh fruits and veggies right to your door. You can pretty much get anything you need on Amazon. Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube have got you covered for entertainment, and social media has replaced a lot of our face to face human interactions.
So… What if you stopped going outside? What would that look like?
This could go in many directions, some, not so good. Let’s start with your personal hygiene. You wake up in the morning, and you don’t have to be anywhere, so is a shower really necessary?
I’ll brush my teeth later. These clothes I’ve been wearing the last few days aren’t that dirty.
Laziness. You could find yourself lying on the couch all day binge-watching Pandemic on Netflix.
You’re alone with your thoughts while social media sends you into a downward spiral of jealousy, FOMO, depression, isolation, and loneliness. Loneliness is the one thing you need to be careful with because of the physical and mental health consequences.
The high-stress levels can increase your chances of heart disease and stroke. Loneliness can also lead to drug and alcohol abuse.
Staying indoors and out of the sun would mean that you’re not getting the essential nutrient, Vitamin D. Some research suggests that Vitamin D can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and depression.
Without the sun, you could suffer decreased mineralization of your bones, which can lead to osteoporosis and other diseases. When inside, you spend more time sitting, which is linked to an increase in risk for type 2 diabetes.
To avoid this, you would need to find a way to exercise indoors, either through workout videos, machines, or simple exercises. Okay, it’s not all that bad, and it’s important to point out that solitude and loneliness are different.
Solitude can be liberating and often helps people live in peace, connect with themselves, or a higher power. It is said that this connection can actually defeat the feelings of loneliness.
Research shows that solitude can spark your creativity. Your brain has a chance to wander and explore in a way that isn’t possible with other people around.
It can also help you build mental strength and make you more productive. This can be extremely helpful in a situation where you need to focus on survival.
If you have a pet, this can potentially help with loneliness. Studies have shown that having a pet can increase your serotonin and dopamine levels, making you a happier person.
Some physicians compare the effects of having a pet to taking mood-elevating drugs like cocaine. While the impact may not be as strong or pronounced, this is probably a bit safer and more consistent.
In our increasingly electronic world, we are spending more and more time indoors. This means we are missing out on the wonders of the outside world.
We spend so much time on the internet and social media. We are so connected, but at the same time, we are disconnected.
At the most basic human level, we crave interaction with others and nature. So, it’s important to understand and acknowledge the few benefits of not going outside and self-isolation.
In today’s world, we are continually facing potential threats from viruses and worldwide pandemics. And we have to accept that, at some level, this scenario could actually play out.
- “Psychiatric Effects of Solitary Confinement” 2020. openscholarship.wustl.edu.
- “What is solitary confinement?”. The Guardian. Casella, Jean, and Sal Rodriguez. 2016.
- “Why neurons die: cell death in the nervous system.”. SW, Hutchins. 2020. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- “The Effects Of Solitary Confinement On The Brain”. 2020. Psychology Today.
- “The Paradox of Dying Lonely and Living in Solitude”. Arzu Kaya Uranli. 2020. huffpost.com.
- “What It’S Like…: To Spend Months In Solitude”. Brooke Lea Foster. Psychology Today.
- “Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much”. 2020. nytimes.com.
- “5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health”. Webmd.
- “Teens Spend ‘Astounding’ Nine Hours a Day in Front of Screens: Researchers”. 2015. NBC News.