Anxiety-Relieving Holiday Silliness, COVID Resources and...a little winter beauty
In this "bleak midwinter" I am worried about the omicron variant, feeling the cold, the loss of light, and other losses. I thought you might be too so I wanted to offer some silliness, a few of COVID-related information sources and some winter beauty. A little bit of everything...to help us live with a little more ease.
Some Anxiety-Relieving Silliness for the Holidays
Every little bit helps!
Hallelujah Chorus to the Tune of Jingle Bells...and Vice Versa. I heard this the other day on the radio--pretty funny. Here it is on YouTube. Enjoy!
Jiggle Bells Jiggling is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress. Just jiggle your entire body, gently and loosely. Or as much of you as feels comfortable to jiggle.
In honor of the season, you could imagine that you have little bells attached everywhere on your body--or actually attach some bells somewhere. Then flap your hands. Legs. Arms. Booty. Make some music!
It works best if you jiggle pretty fast...maybe 130-140 times a minute (except your head), but do whatever feels fun, and comfortable. Jiggling works because it is playful, helps us not take ourselves so seriously, and discharges some of that fight-flight energy. Try it--you might like it. (from the second Toolkit)
Giggle Bells. If "Jiggle Bells" doesn't get you laughing, try watching a funny video or an old cartoon you loved as a child. Or just try smiling. When you move your face into a smile, it tells your brain that you are feeling happy. And the brain believes it! Here’s a link to an article about recent research on this. (from the first Toolkit) I also did a full blog post on smiling and laughing last year if you want to read a little more on the topic.
A Few More COVID Resources
There are so many out there! I'm sure you have your own go-to places for information. Here are a couple I've found very helpful.
Your Local Epidemiologist. Definitely the best source of COVID public health information I've found: "Your Local Epidemiologist" (YLE).
"Her main goal is to 'translate' the ever-evolving [COVID] public health science so that people will be well-equipped to make evidence-based decisions, rather than decisions based in fear."
YLE is "written by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH PhD— an epidemiologist, biostatistician, professor, researcher, wife, and mom of two little girls. During the day she has a research lab and teaches graduate-level courses, but at night she writes this newsletter."
She generally posts every few days. Sometimes the posts get long but usually they are a reasonable length. They are definitely aimed at laypeople, though sometimes they get a bit technical. But it's always relevant info on the latest research on the spread and control of the virus and her expert thoughts about it, clearly written, with a few great graphs and charts thrown in. She is, of course, currently focusing on the omicron variant.
Here's a link to her most recent post (as of December 20, 2021) or you can subscribe here for free, or for a donation if you want to take part in the discussion.
Mask Nerd - The self-proclaimed "Mask Nerd" (aka Aaron Collins) is a mechanical engineer and aerosol science specialist who spends his evenings after work testing face masks. This is a critical service because there are so many masks out there, and so many are counterfeit. Like Dr. Jetelina (see above), Collins is incredibly generous with his time and expertise, and doesn't charge anyone for anything. He has a YouTube Channel and a Twitter Account and even makes his Master Mask Testing Data Set available on Google Docs. And he's so nice!
“I’m just going to find as many good masks as I can and then publish all that,” he said. “And then people can kind of figure out which ones they like and what’s in stock and what their price point is.”
Avoiding Counterfeit Masks KN95 masks, known as respirators are the most effective kinds of masks. Unfortunately there are lots of counterfeits. It is VERY important to actually have the protection you think you have, so check this out before buying an KN95s. Here's a good resource for finding genuine KN95s (periodically updated).
A Few Pandemic Funnies
Okay, okay, maybe a couple of them are a little over the top, but you gotta find something to laugh at these days!
And a Little Winter Beauty
Until next time,
Hallelujah Jingle, Chicagoacapella
Bells, James Lee, unSplash
Gigglers, unknown, unSplash
Katelyn Jetelina, Katelyn Jetelina
Aaron Collins, Aaron Collins
Kermit on the couch, Pinterest
Airplane view, BoredPanda
Swab sign, BoredPanda
Scrabble cat, BoredPanda
Frosted leaf, Aaron Burden, unSplash
Frosted tree, Ales Krivec, unSplash
Trees, Timothy Eberly, unSplash
Frost bubble, Aaron Burden, unSplash