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Physiological Effects of Isolation

Living a homebound existence as of late, many are struggling with the effects of isolation. We’re all being asked to adapt during this time of extreme change and upheaval. The introverted among us may not feel as tested as our more social counterparts, but no one is an exception to the unsettling side effects of prolonged isolation. 

Many studies have explored the physiological toll that social isolation can take on people. One study conducted at the University of Chicago confirms isolation triggers cellular changes that can cause illness, and another from the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science found that social isolation significantly increases the risk for premature mortality.

So how do we keep our cells healthy and energized while we deal with isolation? 

  • Step One: Do whatever you can to stay well-connected.

  • Step Two: Maintain your physical health to the best of your ability. 

  • Step Three: Supplement an inside-out routine. 

Step One: Do whatever you can to stay well-connected.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with the people we care about. Between phone calls, texts, video chats, and emails, we can stave off feelings of loneliness by reaching out to family, and friends in this time of need. If catch-up sessions don’t feel like enough, arrange a group game or movie night. Take these newfound limitations as an opportunity to get creative. 

Step Two: Maintain your physical health to the best of your ability. 

Keeping your body healthy is also important to prioritize. Thanks to the abundance of online exercise content currently available, a little bit of willpower and space are all you need. This easy workout from ChromaDex advisor Jen Cohen is a prime example of the well-curated fitness material being utilized on the web. 

Eating nutritious food also maximizes wellness, and making healthy choices when you venture out for groceries has physiological benefits that add up in a profound way over time. By choosing nutrient-dense meals that are well-balanced, we better equip ourselves to handle the demands that come with this unprecedented time. 

Step Three: Supplement an inside-out routine. 

An inside-out routine is a focus on your cellular health. It’s a novel idea that all health is rooted in how your cells function because all physiological change ultimately stems from the cell. Take care of your cells and your tangible functions will benefit. 

In order to support your cellular health, you have to nourish beyond the macronutrients that are carbs, fats, and proteins and focus on micronutrients like vitamin D or vitamin B3. Although your body only requires them in smaller amounts, micronutrients are crucial for healthy cell function. They support smaller organelles in the cell, like the mitochondria, otherwise known as “the powerhouse of the cell”. 

Think holistically.

Accomplishing only one of these steps won’t do you any favors. Motivation might be hard to come by these days but it’s crucial to tackle all of these steps in order to counteract the possible physiological effects of isolation. 

Health is all connected. Mental health, physical health, and cellular health. Understanding that our well-being requires a multi-faceted approach can help us better support ourselves and our community. It’s important that we share this knowledge and encourage one another as accountability partners throughout this difficult time. And remember: You are not alone. 

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