The state of your mind is sooo important. How you are doing mentally will show up in every other aspect of your life. So if you're struggling mentally whether it's anxiety, depression, stress, just not being able to focus or something else there is something you can do to help manage it: incorporate movement into your day.
I know it sounds too simple and anticlimactic, right? Hear me out, though.
When I am on point with exercise I do so much better mentally. If a couple weeks go by where I barely do any kind of exercise I can usually tell my mental wellness takes a hit. The frustrating thing is somehow I forget this every time I start to slack off and then my anxiety will get extra shitty and I'll be like "what the f*ck is my problem??"
Then I'm like "oh yeah I've been a lazy ass and now my body AND mind is calling me out on it."
Feel me on this?
There's something about making time for yourself to move (and sit still-but that's a future post), that just improves your overall well-being.
Exercise has pretty well known physical benefits such as:
causing muscle growth
helping with weight management
building stronger bones
helping lower high blood pressure
helping lower high cholesterol
But it also has several mental health benefits such as:
helping decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression
boosting your self-esteem and confidence
boosting mental energy
improving sleep quality
Keep in mind this doesn't mean you have to spend 2 hours in the gym pumping iron or an hour doing cardio on the elliptical. There are several ways to incorporate movement and exercise and you should do what YOU enjoy (or, at the very least, find the most tolerable activity-I know there are some people that just don't like exercise-and kudos to you for making it happen anyway!). Here are some options for you:
taking a fitness class
If you want life bonus points hit these 4 key areas:
Strength training- this is super important for muscle growth, bone strengthening (especially as you get older!), better mobility, and increased flexibility. You can do this by using barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands of varying types, or even just your body weight. Or your dog. A small child. Gallon of milk. Whatever you
got laying around.
Cardio- this is good for your heart health, improving circulation, giving you more energy, and helping you get better sleep just to name a few. Ways to do this could be things like walking, hiking, aerobics classes, cardio machines (treadmill, elliptical, bike), swimming, cycling or training for the zombie apocalypse (you never know what kind of zombies you're gonna get-the awkwardly slow ones or the creepily fast ones!).
Flexibility- this is the ability of muscles to lengthen passively, which basically means you're holding a position for a certain amount of time in order to increase how far you can stretch (ie sitting on the floor and reaching for your toes. Ideally, after doing this consistently for a while, you can finally touch your toes! Or, if you're me, them toes always seem just barely out of reach #longlegsproblems).
Mobility- this is the ability of
your muscles to move around a joint through their full ROM (range of motion). These could be things like arm circles, leg swings, going through different movement flows (like down dog to cobra back to down dog), or body weight squats that start shallow and get a little deeper with each repetition. The key is to keep moving through a range of motion and gradually increase the range as you go without holding any certain position for more than a few seconds.
Including regular exercise and movement into your life will benefit you both physically and mentally. I challenge you to incorporate a little movement into each day whether it's a full on workout or just taking a walk. Do this consistently for a couple of weeks and you will no doubt see some benefits to your mental wellness.
Think I'm full of shizzzz? Give it a try and let me know how it goes!