Belated Wednesday Workout Tip: Talk about your mental health issues
I am sure most of you (my lovely readers) have experienced at least 1-2 days spent wallowing in the dumps. We have all had our blue days or weeks, but rarely do we chat about these brief episodes with family (extended), friends, and colleagues. For some, these episodes are a lot longer. When blue feelings carry on for weeks without end, it is time to seek out medical attention.
Why am I talking about mental health issues? Well, because being mentally unwell is going to affect you physically. How? You will likely feel:
1. Lower energy levels
2. Increased feelings of fatigue
3. Muscles and joint aches/pain
4. Moodiness and irritability
Of course there are a variety of other physical symptoms that you will experience and each individual will feel them differently. Oftentimes when you are feeling low you will sleep more/less, eat poorly, stop exercising, potentially bathe irregularly, and push away your social support. Such behaviours will likely worsen your mood and exacerbate the physical symptoms of your mental illness. All in all, you create a negative spiral for yourself that is sometimes difficult to escape from.
So what do I suggest? Well, I am not a doctor (of any sort) so my opinions are my own. But from my education, reading and my own personal experience I have found the following to be unbelievably helpful:
1. Get up
3. Brush your hair, teeth, and take care of all personal hygiene needs
4. Cut the coffee.
5. Do NOT sleep during the day.
6. Grab the dog/call a friend and go for a walk/run/canoe paddle/hike/swim/etc.
7. Go grocery shopping (on a full stomach) and purchase leafy greens and colourful veggies. Buy some red meat (or a substitute if you are a veggie).
8. Stay AWAY from simple carbohydrates (e.g. cookies, cakes, white pasta/bread). While they may taste good on first bite, they will NOT give you energy for the long haul.
9. TALK to your spouse/mom/dad/friend and tell them you are feeling down and need some help.
Have you noticed a trend? ALL my suggestions, apart from talking about your feelings, involve DOING something – eating better, performing light exercise, showering, cutting the coffee. Why? Because being active will stimulate the production of a variety of endorphins (i.e. feel good chemicals). If you perform the above activities on a regular basis, you will start to experience feel good chemicals all the time. In the long run, they will help to combat (perhaps not solely cure) your low mood and/or your mental illness.
If you have comments, questions or want to share your own strategies please send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.