Exercise and Mental Health

Posted on 2nd April 2020

One of the great challenges to us all and especially those of us who might have previously suffered from some kind of poor mental health, will be to try and stay positive with our thoughts and in a state of good mental health. During these times with sustained periods of forced lock down, self-isolation, as well as the very restricted time we will be able to spend in the company of family, friends and colleagues, it can be a challenge.
There may also be the added fear that this situation and circumstances might lead us into some possible financial problems, which I know can cause lots of unwanted pressure and maybe even lead to stress and the feeling of not being in control.
Therefore, today’s guidance is to remind everyone that research shows people feel more in control, more awake and calmer after being physically active, than they do after periods of inactivity. So, despite the need to limit our social movements and time spent getting out and about or doing normal daily activities, it’s really important for us all to keep ourselves active and entertained while in isolation.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

There are a great number of proven benefits to keeping physically active and these include; a very positive impact on reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression, improving your self-esteem, reducing stress levels and also maintaining a much better mood.
This can also be done with relatively simple and small amounts of exercise. In-fact the research and guidance from the Department of Health shows us that as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise, even short bursts of 10-minute brisk walking will increase our mental alertness, energy levels and put us in a more positive mood.
Don’t forget that the government’s latest Coronavirus guidelines tells us to ‘stay at home’ but we can all have some daily exercise, which might include walking the dog but we must still remember to maintain the social distancing advice of  2m away from others and no gathering in groups. There is lots we can do at home too, that require no equipment.  Take a look at my videos on our YouTube channel for ideas.

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO STAY IN TOUCH

There are so many ways to keep in touch with all our loved ones. Of course, the telephone to talk but for those that can, use video calling like WhatsApp and Facetime, for example, so that we can see each other too. For business meetings, platforms like Zoom and Skype can be of great use and allow you to keep being productive with your time.
Perhaps incorporate into your once a day allowed walk for exercise, a trip to the shop to buy essential food and supplies. While you are out perhaps you could pass by a family members door, or window and wave, or even better, drop off something nice for someone to help them through their day. Some food, a book, a DVD to watch or some photos to look through.

PLANNING YOUR DAYS

Another good way to keep active and stay focused on your own well-being and to support the well-being of those around you, is try and pre-plan your days. We should all consider the benefits of planning and use them to ensure that we don’t allow ourselves to feel alone, avoid being in a low mood and staying in control.
The benefits of having a plan include:
• Motivation
• Direction
• Purpose
• Focus our efforts
• Have an impact

SUMMARY

The Covid-19 Pandemic will be affecting all our lives to some degree and in many cases, it will have an impact that will take a long time to recover from. If we are to come out of the end of this period of lock down and social distancing on top, then we must make sure we are ready to ‘hit the ground running’ so use the time you have wisely. Plan for that day and for the future, keep yourself fit and well, stay active and enjoy the benefits that it will have on your emotional and mental well-being. Don’t find yourself alone and think of others who might be and if you are struggling to have a good day yourself, then why not make the effort to bring a smile to someone else’s day instead.
Keep in touch with your business associates and use this time to reach out and make new friends. Perhaps you will realise that you can use your time to support others in their time of need and that might just come back to reward you, when you need it most.

If you need any help coping with any of the above and want some more advice or simply, contact a member of our team on 01536 215240.

Graham Ravenscroft Character
Written by:
Graham Ravenscroft
Lead Performance Coach