I am a firm believer in the transformative power of exercise. I believe that by simply starting to move, and keeping it up, you can change your life.
During times of extraordinary stress—like what we’re experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic—exercise becomes even more vital. Is your mental health taking a nosedive? You can turn it around in just 10 minutes a day.
I walk every single day, and I have for years. I know all of the dogs (and even some of the people) in our neighborhood.
In the last few months, though, I’ve been seeing new people and new dogs every single day. It’s amazing how stay-at-home orders are creating new habits!
I believe the very best therapy is the ground in front of you. Whether it’s your backyard, your garden, the sidewalk, or a secluded path in the forest, getting moving is essential to cultivating good mental health.
Do you remember the feeling of being at a conference for a week, in and out of sessions and meetings, and at some point, you started to feel like all you were seeing were grey walls? You were starving for some sunshine, weren’t you? Well, those grey walls can be the four walls of your house.
If working from home is new to you, it can have a major impact on your mental health. I’ve already given you some tips on how to adjust to working from home, but make sure you’re also opening up those blinds every day to get a view of the world outside. While you’re at it, throw the windows open and let some fresh air in.
And at least twice a day, lace up your shoes and get outside. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Ten minutes is enough to change the whole course of your day.
If it’s hot where you live, consider carving out time first thing in the morning and time late in the evening for a walk around your neighborhood. I promise it will make a difference!
Physical Activity Is Free Stress Reduction
Exercise is always important, but while you’re still working remotely, it has to be a non-negotiable because we’re simply not moving as much as we used to. Our radius has changed significantly.
You may not realize it, but even walking from the parking lot to the building and up the stairs into your office is more movement that you’re likely getting at home—not to mention things like walking to grab a coffee or lunch with a coworker. Our houses are smaller, so if we’re not getting outside regularly, we’re truly allowing ourselves to become sedentary. This will have lasting effects on both our physical and mental health if we keep it up.
And this doesn’t apply just to you. If you’ve got a dog, a quick walk is a great way to get in some exercise and adventure for them. If not, take your spouse, kid(s), or roommate(s) with you. Everyone needs exercise, after all!
Experts have also said that strong, healthy lungs are vital to our stamina, so when you’re outside, make sure to take some nice deep breaths. Drop your shoulders back and put your arms out to the side. Really fill your lungs to their fullest capacity before slowly releasing. Take some time to focus on working out those muscles.
Take Baby Steps Toward Better Exercise Habits
You don’t have to start training for a marathon or doing CrossFit in your front yard to gain the benefits that come with exercising. (Though, to my neighbor down the street doing some serious working out in her driveway, kudos to you!) Just do something—anything—to get yourself moving.
I think you’ll find after a few days of physical movement that you’ll only want more. Bring your laptop outside and do a family yoga session on your patio. Or head to a nearby park and toss the frisbee with your dog or kids.
Whatever works for you, do it. Get outside. See some green trees, look at the blue sky, get some vitamin D, and move around. It will help you cultivate a more balanced life, which will in turn improve both your mood and your work performance.
Until next time—stay safe and sell some stuff!