it’s mental health awareness week. there is so much open communication going on around it. Isn’t that brilliant? that we’re talking about it, sharing, opening up + listening. we’re getting used to communicating to one another about mental health + that’s a bloody great thing.
i heard someone say this week that if you have a brain, you have mental health….
I think that’s pretty accurate. there is, or maybe used to be, an idea that if you say the words ‘my mental health’ then your seen as having something wrong with you. but really we all have our own mental health don’t we? our own spectrum of healthy and unhealthy psychological health.
I’ve learnt managing a comfortable state of mental health is a constant communicative relationship. it’s checking in with myself. It’s making time to listen + care. to how my mind feels, to what feels right + good to me, to what feels wrong + bad to me. talking to myself carefully + lovingly, like I’m talking to a friend. its also, in a moving, swirling dance with my physical health. + THIS is where I feel like I found a secret door, like I’d accessed a cheat sheet that was waiting for me to help me feel better.
movement medicine is an absolute recipe for better mental health.
wonderfully varied + unique to you, physical movement can be whatever you want it to be. whatever you need it to be. it can change daily dependent to where you are. the more we move the more we breathe, the more oxygen we get. we sweat it out, like we’re moving through something, letting go. releasing things. it’s like a journey from one state of mind to another. for me some days it looks like yoga, sometimes slow or strong. other days it’s running, or walking or a gym class or home workout. it’s different depending on my mood + I’ve learnt not to judge. sometimes I’ll feel like moving fast + sweaty, others I’ll want a deliciously slow stretch to sweet music. when I can’t bring myself to do it + I’ve no motivation, I try to tell myself this truth…
‘I’ve never not felt better from moving’. it might still be tough to get going but it’s always true.
to get science-y for a sec……when we do rigorous exercises like cardio or strength, we’re exercising our stress response by asking the body to cope during a stressful time. we’re putting it in its fight or flight state*. (*this is a natural normal state we inhabit as humans for stressful times, like fighting off a tiger…..or something). this actually does the opposite long term. it allows the body to be calmer more comfortably because we’ve exercised our stress response. it’s done it’s job. we also release lots of endorphins in the brain when we exercise that feel really good + yummy + help move us from overwhelming negative feelings. in both short + long term, movement feels good.
physical health too involves eating good + nutritious food.
I love to eat satisfying foods that I know are doing my body good. my brain, my muscles, my bones, my blood, my nervous system; food feeds my body. the more we physically move the more our bodies crave the right foods it needs to move properly. Isn’t that beautiful? so we eat better because we move better + we move better to feel better. + we feel better when we eat better. + so on. it’s a sweet, lovely cycle that you can enjoy exploring. it’s endless + it wants to serve you best.
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to approach looking after your mental health….
I think it’s a recipe of various things that change + adapt. it’s specific to you + only you know what feels how. get curious with exploring different things for yourself + listen to how they feel. be gentle + careful as you go, slow down when needed, speed up when wanted. small steps. start building a recipe you can go to. switch + alter + question at each moment, always with the intention to feel better. take care in it x