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Physical Wellness and Mental Health
Taking care of your mind means also taking care of your body. This set of tips is about how taking care of your physical health is good for your mental health!
If you can, move your body in ways that are safe for you and your abilities! The positive effects of physical activity and exercise on mood and mental health have been proven again and again.
Turn off things that emit blue light, like cell phones and computers, at least one hour before bed to improve sleep quality. A good night’s sleep can help improve motivation, mood regulation and positive habits.
Get that heart pumping to your favourite tunes! Studies have shown that playing motivational music can inspire people to exercise (and even enhance that exercise), and improve mood.
Drink water! Staying hydrated is important for your physical and mental health. Even minor dehydration can affect mood and make it more difficult to concentrate.
Try making time in your day for being outdoors - especially in green spaces, if possible - even if it’s just to sit on a bench. Even ten minutes outside can improve energy, mood, stress, blood pressure, and more!
Try yoga! It’s a great way to get active and calm your mind at the same time. Check out these blogs on starting yoga early in life and yoga for addiction recovery for more info.
Practice meditation. It's good for heart health, pain, energy, and more! Plus, it can help you refocus your thoughts, regulate mood, and bring a sense of calm. Tips for beginners here!
Eat the rainbow! Different colours of fruits and vegetables contain certain compounds, vitamins and minerals that each have their own health benefits. Getting a variety will ensure you're getting the most health benefits for your brain and overall wellness.
Eating a balanced diet of fruits and veggies, grains, proteins, and fats (and treats, in moderation) has a strong impact on your overall well being, including your mental health. If that is triggering or difficult for you, consider connecting with a dietitian or a counsellor.
Eat a healthy and substantial breakfast. Taking the time to have a hearty, balanced breakfast can set you on the right path for the rest of the day.
Find a local sports league or fitness class. Many don’t require any experience and it’s a great way to get physical activity, meet new people, and build other skills that are good for our self-esteem.
If you can, go outside for some physical activity. Even a few minutes of movement in the fresh air and sunlight can give you a refreshing boost or help to ground you.
Try something new for physical activity. Doing the same workout over and over can get dull, and being healthy shouldn’t be boring! Find a way to get exercise in ways that interest you.
Practice doing breathing exercises. Slowing down and regulating our breathing has a lot of health benefits for our body and also helps to clear the mind and bring down stress levels.
Challenge yourself on a physical wellness goal that most interests you. Make sure the goal is still realistic, but also push your limits a little. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.
Exercise can improve your mood, but if you're feeling depressed it can be difficult to even get started. Here are some helpful tips.
Going for a smoke might make you feel calm temporarily, but it can actually negatively impact your mental and physical health! If you are considering quitting, check out this blog for some advice.
Coffee can be okay in moderation, but make sure you aren’t using it to top up your energy regularly in place of sleep. It can increase blood pressure and anxiety, among other things, and can interfere with our sleep.
Take care of all aspects of your personal health by making the most of the services offered at your school, workplace, or other places available to you in your community! Utilize open exercise spaces and look out for free massages, fitness classes or even pet therapy!
Don’t punish yourself or overdo it! That will eventually worsen your mental health and possibly have physical consequences, too. If diet or exercise is negatively impacting your life, consider connecting with a counsellor or dietitian.
Exercise in recovery from an eating disorder can be tricky. Here is a great video by licensed therapist, Kati Morton, that discusses many questions or concerns you may have.
Do something fun! Physical activity doesn’t always have to be challenging and strenuous. Play a sport you like, go for a bike ride, or offer to take a friend’s dog for a walk in the park. The possibilities are endless.
Dance like no one’s watching! Dancing is a great way to improve your mood and get exercise without even realizing it.
There are times when it's good to take a break. Especially if you are feeling a cold or flu coming on, you feel light-headed, dizzy, achy, sweaty, nauseous, or are shivering, vomiting, and exhausted. Giving your body time to recover is so important!
Ask a friend, family member or significant other to exercise with you. A “work-out buddy” can promote healthy competition, motivation, encouragement and make your fitness more fun!
If you find it's hard to get started, tell yourself that you will only move for 5 minutes (or a manageable time frame for you). Once you’re moving you’ll be more likely to continue. If not, you were still able to add some activity into your day, which is great!
Don't compare yourself to others. Take your time and focus on doing things at your own pace. Listen to what your body needs.
Get a check up. Your mood and mental health can be negatively impacted if you're low on certain vitamins and nutrients. If you're feeling off, ask for a blood test to make sure your levels are ok.
Health & fitness content isn't always inclusive but that doesn't mean you don't belong! If you're uncomfortable in certain spaces, expand your horizons. Follow inspirational influencers like Jonathan VanNess (who practices gymnastics & figure skating) or Big Gal Yoga.
It's easy to beat yourself up when trying to integrate healthy eating and physical activity into your life. Be kind to yourself throughout the process, and try practicing self-compassion.
These tips were originally posted on our Twitter account under the hashtag #mymTips with a different topic each month. Follow us on Twitter to see a new tip each day, or visit the Wellness Section to see more tips.