16 2016
Mar

The Balancing Act Between Mental & Physical Health

If you’re anything like me, there’s usually one part of you that’s winning “most healthy” at any given time: either your mind or your body.

For whatever reason, it seems difficult to focus on maintaining both a healthy mind and body simultaneously…and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Many of us sacrifice heathy minds for healthy bodies, or vice versa.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

balance

Make time

Easier said than done, right?

For your body

I’ve had a stressful work week. Whenever that happens, I’m on my computer for no less than 12 hours a day, putting my time available for moving my body at the end of my to-do list. Instead, I typically decide that sleep is the best thing I can give myself. (And it’s true…to a point.) If I haven’t gotten my 7-8 hours of sleep, I’ll get that before considering a workout.

That said, if you’ve had sleep, a good workout can be accomplished in as little as 10-15 minutes…so there can always be time carved out for that. (If you need a little inspiration, check out my Quick Workouts board on Pinterest!)

For your mind

Just like you need to make time for physical health, you also need to make time for mental health.

First decide what you need:

  • Are you the type that needs to see a therapist regularly to feel good mentally?
  • Do you need to devote a few minutes every day for meditation and reflection?
  • Does a good talk with a close friend or family member make you feel good mentally?
  • Or does a quick walk make your mind feel refreshed and ready to go?

Whatever it is…plan ahead and make the time to do whatever helps you.

Body scan

I can’t tell you how thankful I learned how to body scan years ago in therapy. If you’ve never heard of it, body scanning is a quick mind-body check to see how everything is feeling: mentally, physically, spiritually, and so on.

Body scans are a great habit to get into because they force you to do a mental check of how you’re feeling in the moment and also alert you to a necessary change in mood or environment.

For your body

Sometimes, we just feel icky. I know I feel that way a lot, working from home. It’s easy to start feeling the effects of being indoors – and stuck at a computer – for so many hours.

Doing body scans throughout the day can give you early signs that it’s time to talk a walk or it’s time to get that 15 minute work out in.

For your mind

Body scans are also great for the mind: they’ll give you insight to your mood and why you may be feeling a certain way.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just felt off, did an unconscious body scan and realized I was hangry or just moody. By doing the body scan, I can quickly alter my mood by doing something different or simply making the decision to snap out of it.

Be a little selfish

A well-balanced life isn’t attained by being focused on the loved ones or little ones who count on us 24/7. Sometimes, we have to take some time out of the day for ourselves. In the end, we’ll be healthier and happier members of society.

For your body

I can’t tell you how many Moms I know who feel guilty for taking time out of their day to work out. Guess what? There’s always a compromise. How about taking your little one on a walk with you? Or how about using them (when they’re very little!) for your workout weight? When they’re older, go outside and run around with them.

But you’re also allowed to be selfish. Commit to at least that 10-15 minute workout every day or every other day. After all, a healthy body means you’ll have more energy, be happier, and, let’s be honest, be around for many years to come!

For your mind

Likewise, taking time out of your day to have good mental health does you - and everyone around you - a lot of good. One example of this is the argument that going to the therapist can be costly. Can it? Of course. But there are always compromises: how about a free therapy clinic? Or committing to every other week or once a month instead of every week.

Sometimes we have to put aside our guilt or excuses and be a little selfish.

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