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Physical and Mental Health

Physical Health

Exercise - Exercise is proven to improve mental health, as it boosts overall mood, alleviates stress and anxiety, and reduces cognitive issues. It also helps to increase blood circulation, which in turn produces more of a protein that aids the brain with tasks such as learning, memory, and thinking. It releases endorphins, which help to elevate mood and decrease the risk of depression and anxiety.

What types? Team sports, like basketball, softball, and volleyball had the most positive effect on mental health. If you can find a rec team, join a pick-up game at the gym, or even get some friends together to play, this will likely have the biggest positive effect!

What about activities besides team sports? If you don't have the time or aren't interested in team sports, other great activities include yoga (helps to relax and eliminate high stress), cycling (betters mental imagery and improves reasoning), running (controlling thoughts and mood regulation), and aerobic exercises like the elliptical, stair master, etc. Here is an exercise youtube channel that has hundreds of different workouts!

What if I have physical restrictions? If you aren't able to do high intensity workouts, some other great options may include walking (improves alertness and encourages positive thoughts), swimming (promotes relaxation), or even chair exercises. Walking can be done as fast or slow as you need and as short or long of a distance as you prefer. If you enjoy swimming, there are some awesome water aerobic classes, plus just going for a short swim can help. If you are wheelchair-bound, injured or have a limited range of motion (or even just spend a lot of time sitting due to an office job), chair yoga may be an awesome idea. Here is a sample (under 20 minutes) chair yoga session for you to follow along with!

Remember - enjoying what you're doing is just as important as the physical effects. Find something that is a break for you and that you look forward to doing. Finally... give yourself rest days! Rest is just as important as getting moving. 

Mental Health

Journaling - One way to start becoming cognizant of your mental health is to begin journaling. This may look different for everyone depending on what they want to focus on. Here's some advice on how to start journaling!


One great way to get into journaling is to write down (every day if possible) a "rose, thorn, and bud." A rose is a highlight, a success, or something positive from your day. A thorn is a challenge, a difficulty, or somewhere you need support. A bud is a new opportunity or something you are looking forward to. Giving yourself these three categories: success, challenge, and potential, allows you to put things in perspective and embrace every part of your day, the good and the bad. Here's some alternate prompts to get started!

Meditation - Reducing stress, improving sleep, fostering kindness, increasing concentration and improving self-awareness and self-esteem are just a few of the positive effects of meditation. While many may think of meditation as intense humming or sitting cross-legged, meditation is much more than that. Here's a guide on meditation for beginners!

Coping Skills & Strategies

Deep Breathing - helpful links for belly breathing and diaphragmatic breathing

Building Resilience - website talks about coping within different realms and how to be resilient, it also includes free resources and worksheets for both children and adults on coping.

Box Breathing - helpful explanation (and animation to follow along with) on how to do box breathing, an easy, in-the-moment coping skill of 4 counts breathing in, 4 counts of holding, 4 counts of exhaling, and 4 counts of resting. Repeat!

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