Dancing Helps Hospital Workers Cope With COVID-19 Stress

Dancing helps hospital workers coping with the COVID-19 outbreak. We at Fred Astaire Dance Studios applaud frontline hospital workers who are dancing to spark joy and relieve stress while they treat patients during the pandemic.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States in late January, more than 1.47 million people have been infected with the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. States throughout the country issued stay-at-home orders and shuttered non-essential businesses to try and stem the spread. Staying active and focusing on mental health are key to coping with worrisome news reports, school closures and job loss. Finding bright spots during this sobering time is a gift. Frontline doctors and nurses are doing their part to help Americans heal, with a dose of much-needed levity.

Dr. Jason Campbell is an anesthesiologist at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon. He started posting videos of himself dancing with hospital staff following the outbreak of the pandemic. The uplifting videos provide encouragement and support to people across the country.

Dubbed the “Swab Squad,” nurses at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s outdoor COVID-19 testing site in Philadelphia, originally started dancing to keep warm. They made dancing a regular stress reliever when they saw how it helped calm people who came to get tested. In this clip, the “Swab Squad” dances to “Level Up,” by Ciara.

At St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, the song “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams, plays each time a COVID-19 patient is discharged. In this video, hospital workers film their happy dances to honor the tradition.

Fred Astaire Dance Studios understands the healing and transformative power of dance. Scientific studies reveal dancing helps elevate mood and helps reduce depression and anxiety, according to the American Dance Therapy Association, the only U.S. organization solely dedicated to the profession of dance therapy. The ADTA suggests focusing on factors of the pandemic you are able to control, like social distancing and hand washing. Health professionals agree maintaining an exercise regime will help reduce stress, WebMD reports. Dancing, stretching and practicing yoga are low-impact options people of all ages can enjoy. Recognizing the health benefits of dancing during this time, Fred Astaire Dance Studios started an Online Lesson Platform, allowing people to continue dancing at home.