3 December 2020
The world has fallen into a pandemic, leaving some people feeling isolated, alone, and stressed. Despite the current state of the world, it is still important to maintain good mental and as well as physical health. There are plenty of activities someone could do in order to maintain both physical and mental health, whether it be alone or with a group. A viable option that is approved by experts is joining a club. Experts believe that being an active member of a club helps build up confidence and social skills that have been proven to be beneficial to one’s mental health.
“Maintaining good mental health is SO important, even pre-covid, and it will be post-covid too,” said Mr. Posner, the band teacher and sponsor of the cycling club here at Atholton Highschool. The cycling club is a great way to get outside, get some exercise, and engage in human interactions. Associate professor of clinical psychology, Dr Poornima Bhola, and many other experts on the topic believe that these human interactions are necessary to find people who share something in common with you as well as the right people to act as a good support system.
“Being part of a community is a natural desire for us. This club provides a small community for people who enjoy the same thing and maybe otherwise wouldn’t know each other,” said Mr. Posner. He also thinks that sitting around at a desk only tires you out, and that cycling is a good way to get outside and that it “refreshes the brain and physical health of everyone.”
Many experts and organizations such as the CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) all believe that it is important to first identify the source of your stress, and then find ways to manage it. They say that it is important to maintain a somewhat healthy lifestyle, have someone to talk to, and to enjoy yourself by taking the time out of your day for your favorite hobby. Anything that is calming or relaxing, or nurtures your creative self could be a good option. For example Mr. Vennard, an english and journalism teacher, uses mountain biking as a way to relieve stress and maintain his mental health.
“The beauty of that is that it doesn’t leave a lot of room in your mind to wander. If you are not focused on biking, you can fall off that cliff, or wash out in that river,” said Mr. Vennard. Lawrence Robinson, a published author and editor of several books on psychology, believes that it is a good idea to get up and get active. He says this because exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you feel good and serve as a much needed distraction from your daily worries.
“I have never come back from a mt. bike stressed out. I have left to go biking very, very stressed. It’s kinda like magic. Leave stressed, enter forest, come back tired and relaxed,” said Mr. Vennard, “It is pretty easy to succumb to depression, or negative thinking when things are bad.” He thinks that it is not enough to just hope that you will continue to be mentally and physically healthy and that “you have to work for it,” and once you do you will be more “apt to have optimism and hope and joy.”
During this pandemic it is important to take care of yourself physically and mentally, and to do that, you have to find something that you like to do, that is fun, relaxing, and relieves stress.