One thing I am so happy to see people talking a lot about lately is the importance of good mental health. I truly believe mental and physical health are very much intertwined. Generally speaking, I’ve found that if your body feels good, your mind has a better chance at also feeling good. If your body is not feeling good, it is pretty much impossible to feel good mentally. So a good way to have a mentally healthy life is to be physically healthy.
Important: Please do not take anything I’ve written here as medical advice. I’m just sharing my personal experiences, and you should consult with medical/health professionals, as I did, before implementing any of these suggestions into your life.
First world problems
I’ve been sitting in front of a computer for a large portion of my life. Chances are, if you work in tech or have some other type of office job, you have as well.
Sitting is NOT healthy. More and more research is coming out that links long periods of sitting to horrific forms of early death. No joke!
We lay in bed, we sit to eat, we sit in our cars, we sit at our desks, and then we sit on our sofas before we lay back down to bed. This is absolutely not what our bodies are made to do.
Personally I suffer from chronic jaw, neck, and shoulder pain from sitting in front of a computer for too long, not great posture, stress/tension, and not exercising and stretching enough.
When I turned 30 I couldn’t take it anymore and started seeking relief. Fortunately I have found many ways to manage the pain and even prevent it, as well as generally be more healthy. It has 100% improved my mental state of wellbeing and overall quality of life.
I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned with you here, and hopefully it helps you too!
My jaw, neck, and shoulder pain got to the point where I dreaded working. My doctor took x-rays and everything looked fine. He recommended physical therapy so I started going twice a week for a couple months. They taught me about 10 different stretches and exercises that I now do every day on my own before work.
This. changed. EVERYTHING.
They also gave me advice on posture while I work, as well as drive. They also recommended getting therapeutic massages, which I will discuss as well.
Exercise 3x a week in the mornings before work
Always being naturally thin, I never felt like I *had* to exercise. But as I got older, I started noticing my body feeling restless as I sat and worked so much.
I started going to the gym in my condo complex every other morning, walking/running on the treadmill in high intensity intervals for about 10-15 minutes, and doing full body strength training with the weight machines to activate all my muscle groups. Oh, and squats with a medicine ball!
I have had many sessions with personal trainers over the past few years who taught me good technique, so I definitely recommend also doing that if you don’t have much experience in the gym. I was lost before their help!
Getting the fresh blood pumping through my body and increasing my heart rate before working actually feels amazing and puts me in a great mood, I’m assuming because of the endorphins.
Get a weekly massage when possible
This is my favorite part. I found a massage therapist I love at my local Massage Envy and visit her every week for a 90 minute massage, usually on Fridays to treat myself for working so hard all week. It took me about 5 different massage therapists before I found her and she definitely just felt right to me.
It isn’t cheap but of all the things that work for me, this makes me feel the best, and honestly helps me work better because I FEEL so much better.
From my experience, massage has so many physical and emotional health benefits when it is with a qualified professional with whom you have good chemistry. I can’t recommend massage enough for people who suffer from body aches, especially from working at desk jobs.
Taking a break every 45 minutes
When working for long stretches, I set the timer on my phone for 45 minutes. When it goes off, I stand up, get a drink/snacks, stretch, or do some light exercises like crunches or planks, and yoga.
My favorite yoga positions are:
- Downward dog
- Low lunges
- Pigeon pose
- Seal pose
- Reverse prayer
- Reclining spinal twist
From what I’ve learned recently, exercise alone won’t fight off the negative effects of sitting too much. You can still harm your health by sitting for long periods even if you exercise every day, so taking breaks and using your muscles every hour is critical.
Meditate & manifest
Before working every day, I like to take a moment to clear my mind, fill my body with relaxing and happy energy in a comfortable place, envision the way I want my day to go, and then the way I want my whole life to go. I do my best to align the rest of my day with this vision. Sometimes I do this multiple times a day.
I beg you to take care of your body and mind! Your overall health and mental wellbeing will greatly benefit from these suggestions, your life will be happier, and people will notice.
For me it has greatly improved my quality of life, work ethic, and state of mind. I’m really happy I took the time and effort to better my life in these ways and hope you find my suggestions helpful.
Please let me know what you think of my suggestions in the comments, and if there’s anything you do that helps you feel better physically or mentally, I’d love to learn more about it!
I’m super stoked to finally start lifestyle blogging! Read my announcement about it here.
Feature photo courtesy of Unsplash.com.