Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
April 26 2021Read more
Every year people look forward to being able to sit out in the sun and enjoy the warm weather or travel abroad for some R&R with their friends and family.
With the country being in and out of lockdown since March 2020, a lot of people will be making efforts to get themselves back into their pre-lockdown weight. But summer wellbeing is more than just getting that ‘beach body’.
Having to isolate during the Covid-19 pandemic has also taken a hit to people’s physical and mental health. While looking good may make you feel great on the outside, you should always remember to look after yourself from the inside - body and mind.
Don’t ever feel embarrassed to ask for help or feel that you are wasting someone’s time.
Here is some helpful advice from Kate Whapples, MRes degree in sport science, Head strength & conditioning coach at Fighting Fit and Simon Tierney-Wigg, Mental Health Nurse for 12 years with a background in Forensics and Substance Misuse.
KATE: “Looking after your health and wellbeing is fundamental to ensuring you have a healthy and happy life. Whilst lots of people workout for aesthetic goals, it’s a refreshing change to see many people’s goals switching to becoming the healthiest, strongest versions of themselves.
The 4 main pillars I get people to consider in their own lives are sleep, exercise, nutrition and hydration. Getting between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night is essential to performing well cognitively and physically. Next up is making sure you’re fuelling your body correctly. You can do this by eating the correct amount of calories and filling those calories with good quality, nutritious food. Then we have hydration, making sure you get a minimum of 2L water a day makes huge changes to your ability to improve your performance and maintain a healthy weight. Then finally moving! Exercising regularly is crucial to enjoying a healthy life now and in the future! If exercise feels like a drag, you probably aren’t doing it right. Dread the gym? Take up a new sport instead. Learning a skill like boxing or a martial arts allows you to engage your mind as well as move which lots of people find vastly more enjoyable and rewarding.”
SIMON: “Having an open and honest attitude towards your mental health is essential to maintaining balance in everyday life. A lot of this lack of understanding sadly stems from the stigma still attached to mental health; it is often viewed as shameful, portrayed as dangerous or often simply disregarded.
We've come a long way culturally in terms of openness around mental health. 2020 was something of a watershed in many ways as it pushed anxiety, depression, agoraphobia and other mental health conditions into sharp focus as the world was forced to experience them unilaterally. It feels as though 'It's OK to not be OK' is starting to permeate how we think about our mental health which is as refreshing as it is vital.
Reframing the issue can be helpful. Our mental health *is* just another part of our physical health. Our mental state directs our motivation, concentration, rest and recovery. Understanding it in these terms opens up a larger pool of options which - while not being cure-alls in themselves - contributes to a more holistic solution which can be adapted to suit the individual. But the first step is always the hardest one. Acknowledging that you might need some help can feel like an insurmountable obstacle but help is there and is certainly more visible. Long may that continue."
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