Everywhere we look we are being told how important it is to exercise for our mood/ health/ stress relief/ strength/ better sleep /to stay agile etc. but what happens when you aren’t able to exercise due to illness or injury?
This is something I have been faced with for the last 8 months and I wanted to share what I have found helpful when unable to exercise but needing to feel a boost to my mood.
* Breath work has been huge for me. Connecting to my body when I am not able to move it as I would like to. It allows you to tune in to your body and tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, helping you feel calmer and less stressed. Sit and take some deep breaths, lengthening your exhale or follow along with a coach on You tube.
* Message your friends/ family. Personally my brother will always make me laugh & even though he is super busy he will always find the time to send me something that gets me laughing out loud, which makes feeling under the weather much more bearable.
* Fresh air. Connect to the outside world when you can. Tricky if you don’t have much energy but every single time I get outside in nature I feel better than staying inside.
* Gentle releases. When your body feels like it wants to move try some very gentle movement, twisting/rotating, flexing, extending, pushing, pulling. You don’t need resistance if your body isn’t ready and you don’t need to do hundreds of reps, just what feels good.
* Walking- If you are able to and your energy levels/ injury allows gentle walking can be very therapeutic. For someone who loves to get their heart rate up and push themselves it has taken me a while to get used to this slower pace, but I realise now I notice more of what is around me.
* Read/ draw/ knit/ play music, whatever takes your fancy but allows you to be present and not focusing on all that you can’t do.
* Yoga- I found a wonderful teacher who has created specific classes for long-covid recovery which has been great, so if my body just needs to lay down and feel like I am part of something then fab, but if I can move a little that works too.
* Arrange to see friends- I have some amazing friends who I plan to meet for short walks, and they all understand that I may have to cancel on the day if my body isn’t feeling quite right. Reach out to your understanding friends as spending an hour with a mate can massively boost your mood especially when you might be spending a lot of time alone.
* Listen to uplifting podcasts. I have found lighthearted podcasts can make me laugh on days when I don’t feel awesome. My favourite is the Parenting Hell podcast with Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe.
* Holistic therapies- Personally I have found acupuncture really wonderful and it gives me a boost in energy and improves my mood. Massage is also pretty great for helping you feel good and connected to your body, especially when you find a wonderful practitioner.
If you have anything you could add to help others please do let me know below.