Speaking Mental Health
Forward Times Mental Health Advisors
Many of us were accustomed to lifestyles of waking up early and starting our day with routines of getting dressed, taking care of children, traveling to and from work, and making plans to be with family and friends. During the stay-at-home orders we became isolated while working from home and not being able to visit and socialize with others. Daily commutes to work changed to moving from the bedroom to our make-shift office space at home. Adjusting to this new change has left many of us living a more sedentary lifestyle and spending more time on Zoom and Netflix.
Sitting for extending periods of time day after day has been found to increase symptoms of depression and loneliness. There are ways to increase your activity and decrease those symptoms in order to maintain a healthy mental wellbeing. Scheduling time away from the screen by taking a walk or going out for lunch may prove to be beneficial. Maintaining an active balance will help to alleviate feelings of isolation. Since more businesses have opened up, there are more opportunities to become active.
Setting time for family and connecting with others will improve your mood and mental health. When you attempt to break those sedentary habits, keep in mind that even a little bit of movement is helpful. Breaking habits can be difficult but making subtle changes is a good start.
Researchers have suggested that social attachment and connecting to others trigger positive emotions in the brain and decrease depression. Find an accountability partner to exercise with or take a brisk walk to become more active. Try to find ways to build social interactions into your schedule each day and be intentional about making time to get up and move.
Dr. Angela M. Powell is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Progressive Counseling & Consulting, LLC., specializing in youth trauma, anxiety, and depression.