Fitness can certainly be a stress reducer but an important thing to remember is that it is not a heal-all for mental health. It is important to understand how much stress you are under. If you are under a little to a mild amount of stress, then working out might be the perfect answer. However, if you are under more stress than normal or extreme amounts of stress, then working out might not be as effective for you as it was in the past.
Now, not to say fitness isn’t at all helpful during tough times. There is certainly plenty of research out there that has found that exercise can help minimize symptoms of anxiety, depression, and low amounts of stress. It really is dependent on the person and something you will need to experiment with yourself and, most likely, also a great idea to talk to a doctor about how you are feeling.
How does Working Out Reduce Stress?
Working out increases the body’s supply of feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. In addition to what chemically happens within the body, exercise can also improve sleep, self-esteem, sex drive, social interactions, concentration, etc which each of these on their own can improve anxiety and depression. So when something is so great for you in multiple ways it is no wonder it is a go-to for so many people.
When is Exercising Not Enough?
This is something you will need to pay attention to for yourself. Generally speaking, it probably isn’t going to help as much if you are extra overwhelmed with what is going on around you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work out. It just means that you might need extra support to face the stress you are facing.
Ways to Manage your Mental Health.
- workout like you did before the stressors or something similar
- connecting with people
- talk about your feeling
- being mindful
- taking a break from negativity in the news
It is certainly a hard time for everyone right now so it is important to remember to go easy on yourself. A positive thing to come out of all of this is that we can look at this all as an opportunity. An opportunity to really focus o our mental health and see what other tools we can add to our tool belt.
If you are looking for more articles on mental health, we have a whole category on our blog that covers this topic.