I was chatting to a friend recently about this and I thought that it was worthwhile referencing it here on my blog too.
I get frustrated when people compartmentalise health. We are ‘one’ organism and we can’t separate out mental health from the affect of physical health and nutrition and sleep hygiene and so on, it all has a symbiotic relationship.
And so with this in mind I struggle when the clients that I work with are looking for a “clinical mental health program” without realising that a good mental health and resilience program has a large portion dedicated to physical health, sleep hygiene, nutrition, social support, and lots of other elements that play into our mental wellbeing.
Now please don’t get me wrong, those that are in the highest risk category and really need psychological assistance absolutely should have a clear care pathway to getting the help that they need specifically around their psychological needs, but what about the rest of us, those that need a little tune up and are not in the red zone, but are in the amber.
When I was having a tough time during the Covid lockdown, my physical health routine and my sleep hygiene had really suffered and as a result so had my mental wellbeing. What I needed was to take my exercise outside rather than my home gym (which was just 2 m away from my workstation and I wasn’t getting enough outside time) and to spend more time catching up with friends and reconnecting with humans wherever I could (Covid safely obviously).
This had an amazing impact on me personally, as did doing 20 to 30 free webinars helping groups with their own health and wellbeing during lockdown. This latter part really helped me re-connect with my purpose in life, which the job I had at the time took me away from. All of this took me from the Amber zone back into the Green zone and very quickly I started sleeping better and feeling better.
This report identified 1444 articles including qualitative and correlational studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, case studies and theoretical papers, and clinical trials that linked the role of exercise in mental well-being.