Have you noticed the days are getting just a little bit shorter? The nights where light is in the sky until bedtime are no more!
We are moving into a new season and change is upon us. Speaking personally, change has already begun. The kids are off to school (wearing their masks, of course) and new routines are being formed.
New routines can be hard at times especially when we are faced with our own unique circumstances. The great joy and challenge of my work is helping people with change and recognizing that some individuals' health conditions or situations can be challenging.
One in fact that can be very hard is when dealing with mental health issues. This of course can range from low mood, depression and/or anxiety which can show up and influence our lives in different ways.
As you may already be well aware, physical activity is a tool that can be used to help manage mental health issues.
Although science has demonstrated great benefit, the ACTION step to get started can definitely be difficult if not out right hard for individuals dealing with mental health concerns.
In scenarios when I've been supporting those with mental health issues, I had to strategize and brainstorm with them ways to help even get over the road block of starting.
This is where small steps count - literally!
Although as little as 10 minutes of physical activity provides benefit, we may start with a 2.5 minute walk away from home or around our house and an equally long walk back. It may be 5 minutes but trying something for a short period - giving it a try - can be the first step to moving.
I call it the 5 minute out and back rule.
Worth it? Some may say no but I'd say yes!
Possible? Just maybe. And just maybe the time passes and the walk turns into more than 5 minutes.
It is in the small steps that a habit can form and the benefits listed in the above infographic may start to show up!
Many people have looked at me with surprise and say, "oh, I can do more than 5 minutes." It is in those statements that I know there is possibility. There is something there, a glimmer of hope and self-care.
We can see big things that we want to achieve but starting small can be one of the best ways to get started.
Everything counts. It is all worth it.
And as we move into darker days, both in terms of daylight and potentially in our own season of life, look to the small things that might just reap big rewards in the end.
Remember the 5 minute out and back rule as it may be just what you need to start your small steps into improved physical and mental health.
Here are a couple resources to help you with your small steps:
Anxiety: how to stay safe when active
Sweat is the best antidepressant: But where do we go from here?
Stay well and happy moving, Lisa