Today is University Mental Health Day, the national campaign that promotes the mental health of people who live, work and study in Higher Education settings, with a special focus on the importance of community.
I absolutely love my job as a fitness instructor, delivering classes at MMU Sport and personal training sessions.
I asked 2 of the regulars at my MMU Sport F.I.T Classes some questions about exercise and mental wellbeing:
1) What types of exercise do you enjoy?
Emily: I enjoy running – the ability to completely lose worry in the momentum of your own body and surroundings, and also cycling. In terms of being part of a room of people exercising and feeling part of that unitive mood, I love aerobics classes – Fiona’s in particular. I had not attended classes like this before and was massively pleasantly surprised. I felt motivated and encouraged.
Zarina: I enjoy ab exercises, yoga poses and squats.
2) How does exercise make you feel?
Emily: It makes me feel empowered and that my body is capable of more than I initially assumed. It helps build strength; internal and external.
Zarina: Exercise makes me feel refreshed, calmer and I always feel like I achieved something when I do it.
3) What does self-care mean to you?
Emily: Making time for myself only to nourish and maintain my body. I need to do this more!
Zarina: Self-care means taking care with your sleep, eating well and having some time to yourself (even it involves being slightly selfish)
4) How do you practice self-care?
Emily: I will occasionally have a bath with candles and music. Also going for long walks and cooking for myself/ friends.
Zarina: I practice self-care by eating well and having the occasional treat. I always make sure I sleep for 8 hours and I buy myself a little treat, like a plant.
5) What would you say to someone who is struggling to practice self-care?
Emily: Remember that you are worth it and you have the power within you to make yourself feel positive. Smile.
Zarina: Learn how to say no, the world won’t end if you decide you need to rest. Do something different once in a while and don’t feel guilty.
Thank you Emily and Zarina and keep up the good work!
Today I’ve been sitting at the gym reception, reading chapters from this bundle of photocopies I got from various textbooks during my PT course:
Did you know that exercise also boosts self-esteem?
Self-esteem can be described as a multidimensional and hierarchical construct that is important for wellbeing and mental health, is strongly influenced by one’s physical self-perception (Crow and Edmunds, 2014)
The relationship between self-esteem and physical activity is bidirectional: participation in physical activity increases self-esteem, and greater self-esteem is associated with increased physical activity (Crow and Edmunds, 2014)
I’ve also been reading loads of interesting and helpful articles online about mental wellbeing, see resources below.
Check out this TED Talk about the brain-changing effects of exercise!
Also – There are a few talks left in this ongoing course about anxiety for MMU students.
More information about MMU workshops and counselling can be found here.
One more thing! Listening to this excellent pop hit by Baz Luhrmann ALWAYS puts things into perspective and brings a smile to my face!