Ever notice how your body feels when you’re under stress? The muscles in your face, neck, and shoulders may be tense, you may experience muscle spasms, and even spontaneous headaches or migraines. Other symptoms of stress can include anxiety, depression, insomnia, heartburn, diarrhea, and more. The scary part is that these physical symptoms inflict worry which only leads to more stress, pain, sickness and disease. Exercise can help you break this cycle—before you leave because “exercise just isn’t your thing,” we’ve got some mental health tips that will help you exercise healthy habits for your brain—no gym membership necessary!
There are a TON of benefits for those who exercise regularly and we’re not talking about abs and “guns.” Regular exercise has been known to improve physical health and physique, reduce inflammation, increase sex drive, improve sleep, heighten self-esteem, sharpen memory, improve concentration, boost the immune system, improve overall sense of well-being, and even add years to your life.
The benefits of exercise don’t just stop there, and it doesn’t take hours at the gym to get results either. 15–30 minutes of walking per day helps balance your physical, chemical and neurological health. These three Pillars of Health offer key insights to improve mental health.
Health doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. When you can make one small decision for your health each day, you will gradually build healthier habits over time. We have found that this is the best way to approach big lifestyle changes, like exercise, eating healthy, and even developing better sleeping habits.
Health doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing.
Try to schedule your daily exercise when your energy is at its peak. Most people experience the 2:00 PM slumps, drowsiness kicks in and it can be hard to feel motivated or even focus. Practice baby steps, schedule a 15 minute walk to take a break from your day, clear your mind, boost your energy, and even improve your mood so that it will feel easier to include more intense exercises later on.
You will notice the best results for your mental health if you take this time to practice mindfulness. Try to notice the feeling of the sun on your skin, the rhythm of your breathing, and tuning in to how your body feels. The more you practice, the more you will notice improvement in your condition and even stop the cycle of worrying.
Make it fun
Don’t go to the gym with a forced smile, instead exercise in a way that is fun for you. Turn on some music and dance, go for a walk with a friend, take a bike ride with your family, hop in the pool and walk around, even gardening or washing your car. These are great activities that will leave you feeling accomplished and help you overcome any mental blocks—as well as help you become more active.
Focus on comfort
If the thought of going to the gym gives you the ickies, don’t go! You can get in a great workout from your own home or by getting outside—No gym membership necessary. Be sure you wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable as well. Trust us, the last thing you need interfering with your exercise is too tight or too loose clothing.
Celebrate the little wins
Let’s be honest with ourselves and practice being our own biggest cheerleader.
Part of making your mental shift is being able to celebrate the little wins. Not every day is going to be easy, not every workout is going to go flawlessly, so let’s be honest with ourselves and practice being our own biggest cheerleader by making sure to celebrate the good days when they come. Reward yourself with your favorite smoothie, some new workout clothes, a relaxing bath or shower, or even an hour by yourself to enjoy the things you love most.
You are NOT in this alone. 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 6 youth, ages 6–17, experience a mental health disorder each year. Grab a friend, loved one, or even your kids to join you. It’s been shown that you have a 95% probability of completing your goal, promise, task or activity if you have a consistent routine with an accountability partner.
Join Support Groups
Social media is another great way to find support and accountability. Join the thousands of other Wellness Warriors on our Facebook page! Almost all of our Warriors have gone through (or are going through) a similar journey, and offered helpful tips and positive messages to keep you motivated, even if they can’t be there in person.
Take the first step.
It’s hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise, but when your mind is clouded by anxiety, depression, or stress it can feel almost impossible. If you’re finding it hard to take the first step, try an all-natural mood stabilizer. We love the Wellness Warrior Chill Pill, it helps to calm your nerves and balance neurotransmitters.