Mental Health Vs Lockdown
Posted on 27th November 2020
Confidence, self-image and self- esteem have always been something I have struggled with, even more so during lockdown. I also know that I’m not the only one who has had to fight harder than ever this year to maintain my mental and physical well-being throughout. It is safe to say that everyone has been up against what seems to be an impossible year to keep your head above water as we were all up against some of the hardest challenges we will ever have to face. But this is how health and fitness can have a positive effect on your mental health and well-being. If this article inspires just one person during this second phase of lockdown, I will feel like I have achieved my goal.
A little bit about me first; I’m an English Literature and BTEC Sport Student who has a great passion for my courses and hopes to pursue a career in sport (preferably a fitness ambassador/influencer). I am a huge believer in staying fit and healthy and ultimately, when you look after your body, the mind follows. Exercise has always been a way for me to unwind from the everyday stress that surrounds me like exams, college and relationships as exercising has always been my priority above all else. After some research and a little bit of input from my own experiences, I would like to share with you why I think exercising should become a part of your routine, if it isn’t already.
As most of us know, exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression. If you didn’t already know, exercising our body releases chemicals called endorphins which give us feelings of positivity. It produces changes in parts of the brain which regulate stress and anxiety while relieving symptoms of depression, which seems perfect for us college students right? Most of us have experienced the unwanted symptoms of stress. A pounding heart, muscle cramps and restlessness are all feelings that can lead to more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body. However, I can almost guarantee that by simply getting yourself active at least 1-3 times a week, it will clear your mind and give you a sense of clarity, making it easier for you to direct your attention and focus on the everyday. I would recommend taking part in activities where you are able to track your progress. This will give an increased sense of accomplishment and you will be able to watch yourself improve every week. Of course, we are trying to implement positivity into our lives without adding any more pressure on ourselves, so be sure to pursue something you enjoy. Running, flexibility training and body weight training are all exercises we can do during the lockdown period when there are no gyms accessible. Remember exercise doesn’t have to be super intense; anything to get the heart rate up will do the job.
Exercising gives me a real sense of accomplishment, making me feel stronger, both mentally and physically. It gives me the confidence to tackle daily struggles head on instead of hiding away from them. Ultimately, this has helped me to grow as a person and achieve personal goals that I never thought were possible.
Ellie Bougourd, studying A Level English Literature, BTEC Sport and Exercise Science, and BTEC Sport.