TAP In with Tristan : Get Up & Move Around For Your Mental Health

Tristan discusses how we can reverse the impacts of sitting for long periods on your mental health on this installment of TAP In with Tristan. With social distancing and a large portion of us working from home, moving less, sitting more, and staring at screens has become our new normal. Not only is this bad for our physical health, but it’s taking a toll on our mental health as well. Check out the tip to learn about a couple of things that can help you start sitting less and moving around more.

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TRANSCRIPT

Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate? It’s Tristan, and I want to thank you for tapping back in with me as I provide some tips and advice for professionals. On this episode, let’s discuss how we can reverse the impacts of sitting for long periods on your mental health.

The pandemic has changed many of our work patterns. With social distancing and a large portion of us working from home, moving less, sitting more, and staring at screens has become our new normal. Not only is this bad for our physical health but it’s taking a toll on our mental health as well.

A study done by the Director of Wellbeing and Exercise lab at Iowa State University showed that at the beginning of the pandemic, those who exercised less and had more screen time were likely to be stressed, depressed, and lonely. As people began to adapt to this new reality, some saw their mental health gradually improve but those who remained sitting for long periods did not.

With another pandemic winter on the horizon, we are probably going to be stuck in the house more than we care to be. So, if you’re one of those people who have found themselves unconsciously falling into the routine of spending hours at your desk, let’s talk about a couple of things that can help you start sitting less and moving around more.

Start small and be realistic. Try not to get caught up in the “all or nothing” mentality. If you haven’t been in a gym this whole time, don’t think you’re going to show up and start doing 2 hour workouts. Instead, if you have a house or live in an apartment building, maybe just try to take a 5 minute walk break every hour. Or instead of taking the elevator in your apartment, take the stairs.

If it’s hard to find large chunks of time to work out or it’s difficult staying committed, try breaking your workout up into 5-minute intervals every hour. You can add it to your calendar, set a timer, and do some things like squats, lunges, pushups, or planks. If you do this every hour while you’re working, you could end up with a 40-min workout by the end of your workday. If you have Zoom calls where you don’t have to be on camera, you can also do your workout during those. Please just make sure you’re on mute because no one needs to hear you grunting. Once you get pretty comfortable doing this, you can increase your workout intensity and time by small amounts.

Also, try to make it easy and fun for you. Since I’m sort of a tech guy, one of the things I did during the pandemic was buy a nice automatic standing desk. Once I got that, it was nothing for me to stand up and work for 15 – 20 minutes every hour. This at least gets the blood flowing since I’m not sitting anymore. I also have a balance board to stand on which forces me to not only use my leg muscles but engage my core to stabilize myself.

If getting back moving is a bit intimidating, remember that even the lightest movement and exercise intensity can help break up all the sitting, reduce anxiety and seasonal depression, and improve sleep quality.

This tip is brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @layfieldresume, or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.

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