Get moving and sleeping for your mental health

GettyImages-942597964.jpg
Physical exercise can help with your emotional and mental health.

Much like with your physical health, there are steps you can take to improve your mental health. It takes focus, effort, and dedication to improve and maintain fitness of any kind—and Kaiser Permanente is here to help. We want to get you started down the path to a healthier mind, body, and spirit, starting today.

Exercise your mind into shape

Physical exercise can help with your emotional and mental health by improving your self-esteem, keeping your mind off problems, and giving you a sense of control. You don’t have to do extreme exercise to realize these benefits and more. Moderate exercise like brisk walking gives you the same great effects as more intense activities.

Try adding up everyday activities, like walking during a work break, doing household chores, gardening, and climbing stairs. These are all great ways of staying active and burning calories.

Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days to get the full benefit. You can get your exercise all at once, or spread it out during the day. Exercising for 10 minutes 3 times a day is just as effective as exercising for 30 minutes all at once.

Try new things and keep it fresh to keep moving. Aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility are key to total fitness. Having trouble getting started or sticking with it? You can get past even the biggest excuses to getting active.

Awaken your mental wellness with more sleep

Did you know that better sleeping habits can positively impact the mind in a number of ways?

  • Sleep plays an important role in our ability to learn new things and to remember what we have learned.
  • Increased sleep helps to improve attention, concentration, and reaction times.
  • Lack of sleep can affect mood, causing irritability, pessimism, anger, hostility, and anxiety.

Every adult needs a different amount of sleep to be their best, but for most seven to nine hours is the sweet spot. To prepare for a good night’s sleep, consider a routine. Start unwinding an hour or so before you go to sleep – turn off the television, put your phone away, and start relaxing your brain and your body. Gentle stretching and mindful meditation are great ways to do this; you could also use the time to pack lunch or prep breakfast for the next day. It also helps to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day – even on the weekends.

It’s also important to remember that we sleep in cycles – just think about how babies sleep. Waking up is only a problem when we make it one by looking at our phones, worrying about a big meeting the next day, getting annoyed that our partner is snoring like a freight train. When you wake up, remember that it’s normal and resist the urge to do anything. Try using the time for some mindful meditation, which can be as restful as sleeping. If you find yourself having trouble falling back to sleep, try getting up and doing some gentle stretching. If you’re awake for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed for a bit.

For more tips, visit kaiserpermanente.org for information. If you try a sleep program for several weeks and are still having trouble sleeping, we suggest consulting your physician to discuss other options.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER