working out

Exercise: Stress and Mental Health Strategy 4

In the 4th mental health and stress strategy we’re talking about exercise! Working out is a great way to help with our mental health and stress.

With all the mishaps that we’ve had with our computer breaking and the internet being out for almost 2 weeks I didn’t get a stress and mental health post out in June. I’m sorry to miss. But, I’m back with a good one this month: working out, exercise, moving your body; however you say it. 🙂

We all know that working out is good for our bodies. Our mental and physical health can greatly benefit from moving our bodies. I’m not going to get into all of that. Today I am focus on exercise, our stress, and mental health.

Catch up on my other 3 strategies (here, here, and here) and my other posts about stess and mental health (here and here.)

How Does Exercise Help with Stress

When our stress levels rise our bodies can react in different ways, making it hard to calm yourselves down. When we exercise our good feeling endorphins are released. As we regularly exercise it can help improve our moods and help us relax.

How Does Working Out Help with Mental Health

A few years ago, when I was pregnant with our 1 year old, I was doing yoga daily. It was magical! It really was. 😊 My body felt great. I enjoyed my time doing yoga. I started to notice an awesome change with me.

My body would start to breath deeply (like I was breathing during yoga) when I started to get stressed or my mental health started to get bad. How cool is that? Without me thinking I need to take some deeper breaths, my body started to do it on it’s own.

When I am working out, I am happier. It’s those happy endorphins your body releases when you work out. It is natural. We can all thank those natural highs that tell us to work out again. And help us to be in a better mood.

Exercising not only helps us physically get into better shape but it helps to give us a boost of self-esteem. Which in turns can help with our stress and mental health. Win, win!

Different Ways to Move Your Body

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Hike
  • Bike
  • Swim
  • Dance
  • Weight Lifting
  • Classes at the Gym
  • Rock Climbing/repelling/etc
  • Yoga
  • Stretch
  • Playing with kids
  • And many more ways!

Tips and Tricks to Help You Exercise

If you can feel yourself starting to get stressed or your stress levels rising, get yourself outside and walk for 5-10 minutes. I know this will help you! It has helped me.

I know it’s not always possible to just get up and get outside. So get up and dance, or walk around your house, play tag with your kids. Anything to get you moving for a few minutes and let your stress come down a bit.

It’s not about pushing your body so hard every single time you exercise. You need to listen to your body.

Recently I pulled a lower back muscle. Are you ready to the awesome story of how?

I was moving in my couch! Yep, that’s right, moving IN my couch. So ridiculous! It was pretty bad for a week and a half. It hurt to move and breath. I about died when I had to bend over or pick a child up.

My body was trying to tell me something, I hadn’t been listening to my body, so my body MADE me listen. I should have listened to my body earlier when I could tell it was getting tired of lifting weights. I was starting to crave yoga but did not make time for it.

Have you ever been doing a workout and you just did not feel it? It was too hard, or not hard enough? Sometimes it is fine to keep going. Other times you should stop and change gears. Do what is right, for you.

Doing what is right may not be popular opinion. But who cares!

If you like to go to that dance class, then do it.

If you want to take a short and slow walk around the block. Do it.

You want to dance around your house with your kids until you end up laughing on the floor. Do it. And count it as a workout.

Starting can be the hardest thing. Just start! Walk around the block one time. Bring your kids if you have to. Everyone starts somewhere. Please do not be embarrassed at where you are starting. You will improve and get better.

About 7 years ago I had to go to a physical therapist (PT) for my wrists. I get tendinitus in my wrists after my babies are born. With our first I went to PT. Then after our second was born I was starting to lift weights at home.

My wrists got so bad that I needed to go back to PT. I  was sitting there working with the PT aid and he was asking questions about what was happening and why I was there.

I told him my background and that I started to lift weights again. He asked how much the weights were. I was hesitant to answer but did anyways. He laughed at me when I told it was 2 lb dumbbells.

I remember sticking up for myself, probably not as best as I could have. What I remember more was the feelings of embarrassment and gosh I am lame!

But, you know what!? Shame on him! Shame that he laughed at me and my little weights. I needed to start somewhere. We all need to start somewhere.

  • listen to your body
  • do what is right for you
  • just start
  • and remember, everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up 🙂

I hope I was able to help you see the importance of exercise and your mental health, especially when it comes to your stress. What are some of your favorite ways to move your body and exercise? Please share below in the comments!

Xxx, Steph                         

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