Move For Your Mood
Already done with 2021? It’s no secret that many of us are struggling right now, feeling worried, stressed, and isolated. It’s a tough world we live in and Covid-19 has made it even harder, challenging us physically, mentally and socially. We are bombarded with events that are beyond our control but make us feel overwhelmed and sad. To be happier, it’s important we focus on what we can directly and immediately influence…like our mood.
Happiness, like stress, relies on chemical reactions in our body. Endorphins, dopamine and serotonin all play a part in tipping the scale of our mood. Unfortunately, too many of us are trying to influence our mood through alcohol and other substance use, or perhaps by vegging out in front of a screen for hours on end. Before Covid-19, most Canadians were spending up to 10 hours a day sedentary and indoors, and those numbers have only gone up since. While these activities may offer some short-term relief, they have negative long-term effects.
On the bright side
There is a solution to lift our spirits that’s within everyone’s grasp. It’s not expensive. It’s not complicated. It’s not hard to get. It’s simple: Get yourself moving. Any physical activity will work. You could walk, run, bike, dance, skip, yoga, you name it.
Research shows that physically active people are more satisfied with their lives and that exercise itself is strongly linked to happiness. In fact, within five minutes after moderate exercise you are likely to experience a mood-enhancement effect. Getting 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week as recommended by Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines, reduces levels of stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, and increases endorphins and feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin. Physical activity literally boosts your mood.
Move For Your Mood by following these tips to keep yourself active while following local COVID-19 safety guidelines:
- Do activity outdoors –research has proven that being physically active outdoors can have an profound impact on our moods.2 It’s important to include some daytime outdoor physical activity, as long as it works within local COVID-19 safety guidelines. Try walking, hiking or jogging to take full advantage.
- To get ongoing mental health benefits from physical activity, it’s important to incorporate it into your daily life. The key is to choose physical activities you enjoy and that you will want to keep doing over time. Try online group fitness classes, yoga, or pilates to see where your passion might lie.
- Dress for the weather and embrace every season! Start with simple. Any little bit of activity goes a long way toward improving our mood!
- Consider activities you can do with others either in your household or virtually. Social bonding also releases feel-good chemicals which can go a long way in improving our mood.
- Check out our app for ongoing motivation, articles and stories, and exercise videos for everyone.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not meant to a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider when it comes to your condition. If you are in crisis or are having suicidal feelings or thoughts, it’s important to seek support by calling 911, a crisis line, your doctor, therapist or a hospital immediately.
Wellness Together Canada
Visit ca.portal.gs/ or text WELLNESS (adults) or FRONTLINE to 741741.