Mend your mind with Exercise:
Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. When you exercise the levels of chemicals change within the brain. Such as serotonin, stress hormones, dopamine and endorphins, which has a huge impact on your overall well-being. During exercise the increase in blood flow to the brain improves neuronal health by the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
It also stimulates cell growth to the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotions. How much exercise do I need to do? Canadian physical activity guidelines for adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. How might you prioritize your health today? Can you spare 30 minutes less of mindless TV or scrolling aimlessly through social media and go for a brisk walk instead? Creating a healthy active lifestyle comes down to a choice, make the right choices and your body and mind will thank you. Click here to read more on creating work-life balance.
We all have a fuel tank with limited fuel: Every one of us has a fixed amount of energy to use each day. How we distribute this energy between the main components of our life (e.g. work, rest, family and leisure) influences our work-life balance. If we put too much energy into work, too little energy into rest, family and leisure, and if we do it for too long, our well-being will suffer. Our health suffers, and our family and relationships suffer. We may be on the road to Burnout!
Balance involves giving appropriate amounts of attention/ time/ energy to the important aspects of our life and often this needs to be flexible in order to deal with life’s natural challenges. Sometimes we need to work a bit harder, and sometimes rest a bit harder.
Individual differences: Because we are all different, we will also have different balance needs and we discover this with experience and self reflection.
Preventing Burnout and keeping balanced requires self management: Because life challenges, work load, other people and our own standards can pull us away from balance we require effective self and people management skills to build and maintain balance including: self awareness, (what’s needed); time management (managing the load); goal setting (what needs
to be different); problem solving (removing the obstacles); stress management (managing pressure) and assertiveness & saying no (managing others).
Components of balance
· Personal development (identity, self esteem, learning & stimulation).
· Social – (family, friends, groups, teams).
· Work – (paid, voluntary, home duties, study).
· Spiritual – (values, beliefs, religion, meaning).
· Heart & mind (managing emotions & thinking – stress, worry, joy etc).
· Physical – (exercise, sport, activity, diet, health).
· Relaxation – (leisure, rest).
· Benefits of balance:
· A lifestyle that balances these activities will increase our personal health and well-being via the following avenues:
· Reduces stress and prevents burnout.
· Stimulates the immune system and
· promotes recovery from illness.
· Increases sense of happiness and well-being.
· Provides perspective.
· Increases physical health, energy and motivation.
· Increases self esteem, self development, productivity and flexibility.
· Provides social support and feeling connected.
· Recognising burnout & imbalance: signs of burnout and imbalance include the following and maybe either a result of being off balance or an underlying cause of imbalance: decreased energy, motivation, flexibility; increased stress, frustration, worry; withdrawing from others; getting overly involved in work; negative attitude towards work, people or self; changes in general health and performance; lifestyle habits – increased smoking, drugs, caffeine, fast foods and reduced activity. Over time, these reactions can impact on the health of our heart and immune system leading to an increased risk of burnout and lifestyle diseases (i.e. heart disease, obesity, ulcers, diabetes, and some cancers).
· Balance blockers
· Balance is often blocked by the following, all of which can be managed with effort and assistance:
· Lack of motivation.
· Running out of time & energy.
· The load on our plate (& responsibilities).
· Lacking assertive time management skills
· High levels of stress or illness.
· Thinking negativity – e.g. “I can’t say no”.
· Unaware that there is imbalance – can’t see it.
· Life happens – unexpected critical events.