One in five Australians experience mental illness every year, with anxiety disorders affecting 13% of the population back in 2017. However, for those looking for a way to alleviate anxiety or stress and benefit their mental health, then taking a break (in a productive way, of course), can be of great help.
From the benefits of incorporating a healthy dose of exercise to how making time for hobbies can help prevent burnout, here’s what you need to know in regards to creating a mental health workout plan that works for you.
Believe it or not, but incorporating exercise into your routine is a great way to work out your mental health, too. In fact, when you engage in exercise (specifically when it comes to high intensity workouts), your body and brain produce hormones that actually have a positive effect on your mood, energy levels, and even your sense of wellbeing. In addition to helping you to feel more relaxed afterwards, it can help decrease tension, depression, and feelings of anger as well. Whether you’re taking a small walk or going for a run, taking care of yourself in other ways while you workout — such as by drinking plenty of water and maintaining good hygiene can also help you to feel better. For example, if you have long hair, ensuring that it’s up off of your shoulders and in an elevated hairstyle (like a topknot or bun) - in addition to wearing a headband while you workout - is a great idea to keep your hair as sweat-free as possible. In doing so, you can ensure that you’ll feel refreshed in more ways than one afterwards.
Making time for hobbies
In creating a mental health workout plan, allowing yourself plenty of time for hobbies in your daily routine is another fantastic way to prevent burnout and to take care of yourself. In fact, almost four in five Australians experienced burnout in 2020, according to a study commissioned by the work management app known as Asana, which analysed how white collar workers coped with working from home. For such reasons, a hobby is a great way to focus on something you enjoy while catching a break from everyday stressors, though there may be more benefits than that involved.
In regards to the benefits that hobbies can hold, research shows that having one is actually linked to lower levels of depression. While work and other commitments can get in the way of overclouding hobbies, carving out time for your painting, woodworking, or reading is an excellent way to get in a dose of happiness — so much so, that doctors even use “social prescribing”, or a treatment method that involves asking mild to moderately depressed patients to take up a hobby in order to aid in improving their mental health.
Productively managing your mental health can seem nearly impossible at times, though sometimes simply taking a break and creating a mental health workout plan can help in more ways than one. By including activities like exercise and even working on your own hobbies, you can help to prevent burnout while making time for what matters most.
This article was kindly written and contributed by Cassie Steele.