Finding joy through fitness
It can be tough to see the bright side right now. After months of chaos and uncertainty, one way to replenish your energy is to find happiness in the little things in life – a joke, time spent in nature, leisure activities and just taking time to savour the moment (a meal, music, a walk).
Mental health experts suggest these ways to find joy in life and re-program your mood.
Find some humour. Collect jokes or sayings that make you laugh. Listen to our watch a stand-up comic. Laugh at yourself. It's hard to be stressed and angry when you’re laughing. Smiling releases dopamine and serotonin that can make us feel happier.
Do something fun. Whether it's playing with kids or playing golf, doing something fun promotes overall well-being. Leisure activities can help fight stress, build confidence and distract us from difficulties.
Get in the zone. There are certain activities that totally absorb us and make us feel fulfilled. Think about activities where you focus entirely and stop being distracted by the usual stressors. For some people it might be cycling, yoga, drawing or journaling.
Indulge yourself. Take time to treat yourself to a relaxing soak in the tub, a therapeutic massage or even some meditation or a nature break.
Let it out. When you're feeling good, throw your whole self into it. Go ahead, jump up and down, clap your hands. Research shows that if you act out a certain emotion, you can fire up that feeling.
Since exercise triggers the brain to release endorphins that improve your mood and help fight anxiety and depression, here are some joyful exercise options to blow off steam and fight the pandemic doldrums.
Social DisDance: Group fitness instructor Michelle Ryder (@micheryder) has always loved to dance, so when COVID closed down her group fitness dance classes, she found new ways to get her groove on and work up a sweat outdoors. Ryder got a speaker and pulled together some great tunes and organized a weekly Saturday event from June-October in downtown Halifax. Now she’s leading Social DisDance classes on GoodLife Instagram TV to get Canadians off the couch and grooving with high energy tunes, strobe lights and lots of swagger.
Chair Choreography: Kim Lavender (@coachklav), VP of group experience with GoodLife Fitness choregraphed her own chair dances and stretches for those working from home. Along with other workout videos, Lavender has been posting short video clips with chair moves and motivating music, designed to give people incentives to sit less and move more throughout the day.
Kick your cares away: Channeling your inner Jackie Chan is a great way to release stress and feel empowered. Fitness instructor Inno Delarmente (@innod3) has been leading Canadians in kickboxing cardio sessions since the early weeks of the pandemic. The goal is to work up a sweat while you vent your frustrations with martial arts moves.
Learn to breathe properly: Another group fitness instructor Carole Reber (@carolereber) has been posting mindful meditation, breathing and yoga sessions designed for people feeling the stress of the pandemic. Her goal is to give people a break during the day when they can take time for themselves and be grateful for the positive things in their lives, as well as ease the effects of tension in their muscles.
All of these fitness professionals are available to talk more about and demonstrate some moves from their workouts to show how movement can clear your mind, add more fun and spark joy in your daily life.