Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes
Today we examine how clowns can be healing partners, being a proxy teacher is stressful, and nature’s role in the pandemic. Plus, there’s some vaccine news.
Bring in the clowns
Clowns can be the star of scary dreams, but not for kids undergoing treatment for acute or chronic conditions. In fact, hospital clowns might help improve physical symptoms and psychological wellbeing for those children, according to findings reported in The BMJ.
Specifically, incorporating appropriate laughter and play into clinical practice can be beneficial for these young patients, and that’s where a clown can help.
Is your second job a proxy teacher?
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about: Science has measured the levels of heightened mental distress parents feel from serving as their child’s educator while they are participating in remote learning.
Specifically, the study authors found that parents with at least one child struggling with distance learning were 19% more likely than other parents to report anxiety. These parents were also 22% more likely to experience depression and were 20% more likely to have trouble sleeping. In addition, the study published in Educational Researcher found they were also 20% more likely to feel worried and 23% more likely to have little interest or pleasure in doing things.
All of this sounds like the symptoms of burnout, doesn’t it? For parents who are also healthcare professionals, these heightened feelings of distress may just add to what you may already be feeling. Make sure to find ways to care for yourself, such as walking in nature or trying to laugh more.
Outside as safe haven
The pandemic may have changed people’s relationship with nature. Nearly 70% of park users increased their visits to local nature as Covid-19 health protocols were being introduced. Meanwhile, 26% of people who hadn’t visited a park in over a year headed to these green spaces.
According to the study published in PLOS ONE, the most common reasons cited for visiting natural areas and parks were: getting outside, exercise, connecting to nature, finding peace and quiet, birding, dog walking, and time with children. Researchers found that 66% of people used these natural areas to find peace and quiet, and 32% reported these places as spaces for contemplation—activities that have been shown to reduce stress.
A separate study, also out of the University of Vermont, found that women increased the ways they used greenspaces more than men.
Researchers concluded that being able to access greenspaces could deliver mental health benefits at a time when they are needed most.
ONE BIG NUMBER
The amount that the coronavirus vaccine supply could grow thanks to the extra doses found in the vials. There should be five doses in a vial, but some pharmacists have found six or seven. The FDA says these extra doses can be used rather than thrown away.
I wish he was my shoveling partner.