Hey! Melissa here back with another kinesiology blog for everyone. Today we’re talking about the dreaded “C” word – COVID. But not in the negative way that everyone talks about it – nope! We’re taking a different approach and hopefully one you’ll find helpful and motivational.
“COVID has made my life super difficult and stressful” – this has been a statement I’ve both made myself and heard other people make frequently in the last nine months. I work with individuals everyday who consistently make this exact statement – and it’s totally valid. How you feel and the circumstances surrounding you are legitimate. So – my question is – are you ready to start feeling good about yourself and life again? If your answer is “no” – I get that. Everyone is going through a grieving period. I could list at least a dozen things that were supposed to happen for me this year that didn’t. I too went through a grieving period and in some ways still am. But if your answer is “yes!” then I’m here to tell you how to get started in a way that will be both mentally and physically beneficial.
The first step I’m going to recommend is admit to yourself that you’ve had a tough year, you’re feeling good now, but you might still have days that don’t feel good. Guess what? That’s okay. Mental health is not always an easily climbed hill. Sometimes you’re in the valley in those awkward sloping parts, and sometimes you’re at the mountain top. But admit that to yourself, someone you trust; write it down even – put it in your notes, on your computer – anywhere! But do it…it will make it real and validate your feelings. Moving forward though, your next step is to…
Get Some Exercise
“Well duh Melissa, I know I should exercise, but I don’t know how or where to even start” – Yup! That’s a huge reality that a lot of people face; I hear it all the time. But this is what kinesiologists are for. If you don’t know how, or don’t know where to start or where to even begin looking – start with a kinesiologist. A good kin will work with you from beginning to end – starting with health questionaries, establishing your fitness goals, and getting you into the gym. You can search for places with resident kins even on Google: “gyms with kinesiologists near me” should do it. In my experience, you’re often better off to go with a “non-brand name” gym, they usually have lower fees, no contracts, and have educated staff (who know what they’re doing), and who truly want to help you. If you can’t afford a kin or gym membership, grab someone you’re in connection with and try walking / jogging together, hiking, indoor rock climbing, yoga – anything! The biggest issue for most people is getting started. But forming a “buddy system” is much more effective, and forms a community you may have been missing out on for a while now. Trust me: regular movement and connection with someone will make you feel really good².
Try Deep Breathing
I can feel the eye-roll from some of you now, but it actually works, and science even says so! I think deep breathing is misunderstood, as we usually hear it being prescribed for individuals with anxiety (when in reality it’s good for everyone to practice, particularly in moments of stress). During moments of worry, breathing can be laboured, quick, and shallow – deep breathing forces your autonomic nervous system (aka: your flight-or-fight response) to slow down and counteract these feelings of anxiety¹. That’s why so many people love yoga! Breathing is a major component of performing yoga, and done correctly, it produces such calming effects. If you have never done yoga before, that’s okay – you don’t need to be uber-flexible to do it; just have an open mind. And hey! If you’re on this app, you should give it a try (shameless plug for EsVedra, woot!) 😉
Take Your Self-care Seriously
I personally think self-care isn’t just a night routine filled with bubble baths and shaving my legs (I mean sometimes it is) but it’s a lifestyle – an adaptable lifestyle that involves monitoring how you feel, and what your body is telling you it needs throughout the whole day…everyday. For example, I know when I haven’t eaten enough calories in a day because I’m more irritable / angry, my blood sugar drops, and I’m hungry at bedtime. Another example, if I’m developing a headache / migraine – is it because I’m stressed, haven’t eaten, or drank enough water in the day? Maybe.
“But Melissa, COVID….” and yes, I know. COVID has forced us into an unusual way of living particularly in how we socialize. But if COVID has taught me anything, it is that I need my friends. Humans are social creatures, we were created for connection, it’s in our DNA. If you live in a household with several people maybe you’re not feeling this one quite so much. But if you live alone, you for sure know how important this is. Whether it’s regular video chats or phone calls to your friends – reaching out to all of your people is HIGHLY IMPORTANT for your mental health (I cannot stress this enough)! If you don’t believe me, you can watch this Ted Talk (because sometimes watching stuff is way easier than reading about it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VRi6gWj98E
Find the joy, be kind, and we’ll chat again soon
If you’ve got questions – E-mail me!
Find my email here: https://cordessa.ca/
- Khng, K. H. (2017). A better state-of-mind: deep breathing reduces state anxiety and enhances test performance through regulating test cognitions in children. Cognition and Emotion, 31(7), 1502-1510.
- Ratey, J. J. (2008). Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. Little, Brown Spark.
The Critical Importance of Friends on Your Happiness | Mike Duffy | TedxBerkeley