Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety from time to time. You might feel anxious before an exam, a date or an interview. Feelings of unease and nervousness come and go. But sometimes those feelings and thoughts are more frequent than passing worries or a bad day at work.
Today is R U Ok? Day, the perfect time to remember that our mental health is as important as our physical health. R U Ok? Day is our national day of action dedicated to giving us a reminder to ask our friends, family, coworkers, or gym buddies, “are you ok?”
In the fitness industry, we tend to look after our bodies more than our minds. Here at OMR, we believe that mental and physical health are connected, so we don’t compromise on rest, recovery, health, family, social or lifestyle.
Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental health, emotional well-being and lower rates of mental illness. When you exercise, the level of chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones, change. Exercise can help distract you from negative thoughts and provide opportunities to try new things.
OneMoreRep athlete, Caterine Pauluzzi, found meditation and seeing a therapist the best way to cope with her feelings.
“I started practising meditation, journalling and gratefulness daily as well as seeing a therapist to help me find coping mechanisms when the overwhelm is too much. What helped the most was that I decided to show up for myself and tapped into why I wanted to feel/be better. I found my WHY within me.”
This R U Ok? Day remember to look after your mental health and those around you. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to ask for help. Prioritise your mental and emotional wellness; this way, you’ll be better placed to push beyond in all areas of life.
“I’ve learnt how to work with my anxiety with self-care and listening to my body. Remember is Ok not to be Ok grab a friend, have a tea, go for a walk or sit down in your own thoughts and just BREATHE.” - WBFF Pro and OMR athlete Tammy Hall
4 Ways To Help With Your Mental Health:
- Training in the gym – either on your own or find a gym buddy to join you. Try out classes or get a PT to help you get started.
- Walking/moving – Go outside for a walk and enjoy the healing benefits of nature. If you can’t go outside, just move your body –give me 10 squats and 10 push-ups!
- Sleep, rest, recovery – give your body and mind the time to recover so you can be in the right mindset.
- Community – immerse yourself in your community. There are plenty of free activities that you can join. Or simply join an organisation to help them out.
How To Ask R U OK?
Ask R U Ok? – you don’t have to use those exact words. You can always start a conversation with “how are you travelling? Or “you don’t seem yourself lately – do you want to talk about it?” Remember to be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach. If they don’t want to talk, don’t criticise them. Tell them you’re still concerned about changes in their behaviour and you care about them.
Listen with an open mind – “I’m here to listen if you want to talk more about it” or “have you been feeling this way for a while?” Take what they say seriously and don’t interrupt or rush the conversation. Don’t judge their experiences or reactions but acknowledge that things seem tough for them. If they need time to think, sit patiently in silence.
Encourage action – “Have you spoken to your doctor about this?” or What do you think is a first step that would help you through this?” If they’ve been feeling really down for more than 2 weeks, encourage them to see a health professional. Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.
Check in – “Just wanted to check in and see how are you going” or “have things improved for you since we last spoke?” Pop a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks. If they’re really struggling, follow up with them sooner. Ask if they’ve found a better way to manage the situation. If they haven’t done anything, don’t judge them. They might just need someone to listen to them for the moment. Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.