12 Jan Let’s Talk
January 25th is Bell Let’s Talk day. Since it’s inception in 2010, Bell has raised more than $80 million for mental health programs across Canada.
Dedicated to moving mental health forward in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk promotes awareness and action with a strategy built on 4 key pillars: Fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting world-class research, and leading by example in workplace mental health.
Let’s Talk Day has given people from all walks of life the ability to speak up, support, and educate others around them. We are talking more about our own struggles or the mental health struggles of people close to us. And that’s important!
I am one of those people who felt the stigma involved in mental health issues. Diagnosed over a year and a half ago, (and if I’m being honest with myself), have been battling mild to moderate depression for at least 10 years. I avoided talking to my doctor. I made excuses to my family and myself. I remember the exact moment that finally forced me to see my doctor and seek help. But I wish I didn’t have to wait for that moment.
Things have changed enormously for me over the last year. Proper treatment and support are key players. But a real game changer for me, and many others, has been making fitness a regular occurrence in my life. It just so happened that a year ago is when I also started training to instruct spin at Core. At the time the thought of it seemed way too overwhelming. The physical aspect (it seemed much more desirable to lay in my bed), and the personal aspect (it seemed much more desirable to stay under the rock I had crawled under). But after a little nudge from Tyler I took the step and put myself out there. And everything has changed since.
A review of studies stretching back to 1981 concluded that regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression. It also may play a supporting role in treating severe depression. Studies have found that people who exercise regularly (3-5 times per week), regardless of which treatment they were on originally, were less likely to relapse into depression.
So how does exercise relieve depression? For many years, experts have known that exercise enhances the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain. They also serve to improve mood. Another theory is that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which may directly improve mood.
Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:
- Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence.
- Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
- Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you enter the spin studio can help your mood 😉
- Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy.
So on January 25th, Let’s Talk! Every time you talk, text and join in on social media on January 25, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.
And every other day, Join the Conversation. Educate Yourself, Be Kind, Listen, and Talk About It.
If you’re struggling, talk to your doctor, and think about adding regular exercise to your day. It may seem overwhelming at first, but is so worth it.
Thanks for reading,