Time to Talk Day: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind?
Today is Time to Talk Day – part of an annual campaign to change the way people think and act about mental health problems. We’re encouraging people to talk.
Below, we also explore the positive impact good physical health and regular exercise has on mental wellbeing.
January: Statistically the most depressing month in a ‘normal’ year, and even more so during a global pandemic and third national lockdown.
According to the Office of National Statistics “Almost 1 in 4 adults have experienced some form of depression during the pandemic.” A quarter of the entire adult population in Britain.
There were media reports of mental health issues doubling during the first lockdown, with those aged 16-39 the worst affected. The harsh reality is that this trend is likely to continue or worsen the longer this pandemic goes on.
The Christmas excitement is over, and January rolls round. Dark, cold, rainy – and being plunged into another lockdown. It is easy to see how people’s mental health and wellbeing has been so badly affected.
So, what can we do?
Talk, Talk, Talk.
“A small conversation has the power to make a big difference,” the Time to Change campaign says. The campaign suggests you can make a difference by following a few really simple steps:
- Check in with family and friends: A simple “how are you?” can go a long way.
- Listen and don’t judge: It’s time for them to talk – and it’s time for you to listen.
- Treat them the same: Don’t let a person’s mental health affect the way you approach them or treat them.
- Ask twice: People will often say they’re ‘OK’ when first asked. Ask again! “Are you sure?”
There are many things recommended to help your mental health, but one of the simple and easiest things to do from home to boost our mental wellbeing is physical exercise.
Since launching our EVOLVE nutrition dispenser in January, we at Westomatic HQ have pledged to get fit and healthy for 2021. Our team has already lost a combined 44KG in weight and are feeling much better, mentally, because of it too.
Regular exercise has been shown to give people more energy throughout the day, feel more relaxed, have a sharper memory and sleep better at night. Let’s be honest – we always feel better after getting a good night’s sleep. Both the body and mind needs to be fully rested.
Do we need to run marathons or cycle for miles to get fitter and feel better? Actually, no.
Research tells us that we only need to do modest amounts of exercise to make a real difference. 30 minutes every day to get your heart pumping and blood flowing should do it!
No matter your age or fitness level, exercise can be used as a powerful tool to boost your mental wellbeing, and to improve your energy and outlook on life.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound (SMART). Especially when it comes to setting yourself targets, make sure they’re achievable and realistic, or they could have an adverse effect on your physical and mental health.
Saying “I’m going to run a marathon tomorrow”, when you get out of breath walking to the end of the road at the moment, is probably going to be counter-intuitive.
Think Outside the Box
There are many ways to start your journey, and now more than ever the resources available don’t require expensive equipment and gym memberships. Luckily, we have so many free resources at our fingertips just waiting to be tapped into. You can check out our home workout tips here.
The Couch to 5K app is also a good resource. Of course, this is just one of the many apps out there to help get us active and feeling good about ourselves. If running is not your bag, there are apps, live streams and YouTube videos for things like Yoga and Meditation, which are renowned for aiding mental wellbeing.
Endorphins for the win!
The brain releases several “feel good” chemicals when we experience pleasure. Dopamine and endorphins work in a way that masks discomfort, reduces anxiety and stimulates the feeling of joy.
Your brain pumps out chemicals to make you feel happy, as well as the chemicals that make you feel stressed or anxious. So not only do people say exercise helps you feel better, but it’s actually scientifically proven!
One thing to be certain of is increasing your exercise can only improve your physical and mental health in the long run. Combined with the right nutrition, and the right amount of rest, you’ll feel stronger, fitter and healthier – both mentally and physically.
Chat and a Chuppa?
We might not be able to physically meet for a cuppa and a chinwag at the moment. But, we’re always here at the end of the phone (or Zoom!) if you need us. Don’t sit there and suffer in silence. Talk to us.