Door 43 wellbeing blog: What’s the difference between outer space and your living room?

Door 43 wellbeing blog: What’s the difference between outer space and your living room?

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In these blogs our Door 43 team provide wise words and support to help young people manage emotional health and wellbeing during this difficult time. Be sure to look out for these blogs on the Sheffield Futures website and our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.  

This week, inspired by the recent Space X mission to the International Space Station, Luca takes a look at how the emotional challenges we are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions are very similar to those experienced by astronauts. Luca looks at the techniques astronauts use to help manage emotional issues caused by confinement and how we can use them here on Earth! Enjoy.  

Hello! Luca here – one of the health and wellbeing practitioners

I recently made a few videos about the similarities between space flight and the restrictions we’re facing around COVID-19, bear with me, there is some relevance! The videos are about 10 minutes long in total, so I thought it would be useful to use the blog this week to highlight some of the key points I make in  those videos and also give you some relevant and useful links. 

While space flight and staying at home seem like they couldn’t possibly be further apart – both literally and figuratively! – there are a surprising amount of similarities, both in terms of the emotional challenges and solutions to those challenges. 

There’s a programme called the Dartmouth Path Programme, which is designed to help astronauts cope with the emotional challenges of being confined with others on a spaceship for long durations of time. The emotional challenges that stem from the limitations astronauts face during spaceflight, are surprisingly quite similar to those which we have experienced as part of COVID—19 restrictions. As such the Dartmouth Path Programme contents has been made available online, to the public, to help them to cope with the restrictions around COVID-19.

Jay Buckley, ex NASA astronaut and one of the designers of the Dartmouth Path Programme said, ‘It’s challenging to be isolated with a small group of people and to not be able to get away… Outer space and your own living room might be drastically different physically, but emotionally the stressors can be the same’.

The Dartmouth Programme encourages astronauts who are experiencing stress to consider if they are over-reacting, catastrophising or making judgements that don’t quite fit the evidence. The Programme encourages astronauts who are experiencing anger or anxiousness to engage in grounding, relaxation or meditation techniques such as focusing on your breathing or muscle relaxations. These are techniques we at Door 43 recommend for those of you experiencing these feelings. 

The Dartmouth Path Programme also looks at depression which can set in when you are restricted from doing things that would normally boost your mood – like when on a spaceship or when your favourite places to visit are shut! The programme suggests that it’s important to focus on what you can do and the problems you can control, i.e. problems which have solutions! Jay Buckley said, ‘If you focus constantly on what you can’t do or things you want to do that’s not good for moodwhat you can control is what’s going to happen today or tomorrow.

In spite of the restrictions, we do have some control over our days, and increasingly so – just make sure you’re being safe for yourself and others. Having something special within your daily routine can help you to look forward to each day. The things that might make each day special might be a walk first thing, speaking to family or a friend, practicing your football or cartwheel skills, simply reading a book or a million other things we can do! Social isolation has been a massive challenge for everyone recently and something we can do now is catch up with one friend at a time whilst maintaining a safe distance, there’s a link below with the official guidance.

Take care everyone and keep safe,

Luca

Remember Door 43 is here to support young people make sense of this confusing and emotionally challenging time. If you’re experiencing any of the problems we talk about here or feel you could do with talking to someone one to one or in a group environment, please do contact us. A reminder of our full list of support is here 

Links 

Luca’s Instagram posts on spaceflight and COVID-19 restrictions: 

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-ou-8RHqwn/ 

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-pFzHfnz-I/ 

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-pOOrnnXCM/ 

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: What you can and can’t do 

 

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