Previously, we discussed how sleeping can reduce stress. Did you manage to sleep well since then? If yes, great! If not, don’t worry! Take one day at a time. We can do this. Today we’ll talk moving our body to help us feel better.
Breathing? Check. Sleeping? Check. What’s next?
Move that body. Exercising is one of the healthiest stress-reliever because it helps our body to release hormones and chemicals that make us feel good. It can help us sleep better, increase our energy levels, make us feel happier and help us remain calm in stressful situations. If you are someone who doesn’t exercise regularly, you can start slowly, maybe with a stretch or two - know why cats stretch? Because it feels great!
Effects of exercise can be even better when we exercise outdoors. The sun helps our body make Vitamin D, even on cloudy days. This Vitamin D increases feel-good chemicals and helps us deal with stress.
We understand that it might feel hard to start or maintain an exercise habit when we are already busy or stressed, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Having small achievable goals is the way to go!
Even going for a 20-minute walk once a day will help. If you don’t feel like going out everyday, you can simply play some happy music and dance at home! Don’t worry if you have mobility issues: moving whichever parts of your body you feel comfortable with will make a huge difference.
If you don’t know how to exercise, use an app! Apps like ‘Map my Fitness’, ‘Sworkit’, ‘Couch to 5k’ and ‘Daily Yoga’ have short doable routines that you can begin with. You can also watch exercise videos on YouTube when you feel more daring! It’s all about setting your own pace.
Walk up stairs instead of taking the lift.
Get off the bus one stop early and walk the remaining part of your journey.
If exercising alone feels too difficult, see if you can find a friend or a neighbour with whom you feel safe. Walking together can be fun!
For now, make a list of all the ways you could incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Get creative! Use your shopping bags as weights! Do squats while waiting for the bus! Don’t forget to have fun. We’re much more likely to stick with an exercise regime when we enjoy yourselves.
REMEMBER: Exercise helps to reduce the effects of stress in your body, but you need to start slow.
ACTION: Make a list of ways you can make simple exercise a part of your daily routine. Start small so that your body can slowly adapt to change.
NEXT: In the next lesson, we’ll look at how important sleep is to managing stress.