In our modern, fast paced world, mental health issues are becoming an increasing point of concern. For example, 1 in 5 adults suffer from depression throughout their lifetimes and 1 in 3 is likely to have a depressive episode in their life at one point or another. These statistics have increased across recent decades and they beg the question, how do we make sure that we are taking care of ourselves not only physically but also mentally? In between our busy work and social lives, when and how do we make time for ourselves?
Recent research shows that one of the best ways you can take care of your mental health is by engaging with your physical self also, specifically through exercise. Every time you go for a quick swim or run, your heart rate increases the oxygen supply to your brain and the other chemicals in your body adjust accordingly: A rush of endorphins will leave you feeling re-energised and happier than you would have felt prior. This isn’t always the case, we all have our off days, but integrating regular short periods of exercise into our weekly routines is proven to have great effects in the long run on our individual well-being.
Knowing that the relationship between our minds and our bodies is so in sync can be a moment of epiphany because, in realising how the two work together, it becomes increasingly obvious how much power we can hold in making a difference by cycling to class instead of getting the bus or keeping hydrated throughout the day. Integrating that exercise to help boost your endorphins and overall feeling of self esteem can include everything from the walk to work to the hour long swim once you get home – it doesn’t matter so long as you are making sure to keep active and to keep moving, which makes sense when you consider that humans didn’t evolve to sit still but instead to be constantly shifting and moving.
In writing this post at the beginning of February, I hope that I offer some support and motivation for you to keep up those January gym plans and New Year inspired early morning jogs because everyone deserves a word of support every once in a while. Not only are you helping to keep yourself well and strong, you are giving your brain that extra bit of love it deserves for putting up with all the stress that comes with the statistics and tasks of your life. Giving back to yourself in this small fashion is an excellent way to make sure that you are aware of just how important you are and how, in giving yourself time to test your own strength and ability, you are giving yourself the best
opportunity to continue exploring your potential and living your own life to its fullest.