I’d like to start the new decade by sharing 9 lessons I learned (both personal wellness and physio related) over the last year with the hope that it will also help you in 2020.
1. Movement counters poor posture 100% of the time.
It is not the position you sit in that causes the problems, it is the amount of time you spend in that position that causes strain. The answer is to move on a regular basis, and I don’t mean from looking at your laptop to looking at your smartphone.
2. Exercise is like taking medicine
Exercise helps the body stay healthy and strong.
Did you know that exercise grows brain cells and help us concentrate better for up to 3 hours after vigorous exercise? No? Neither did I until a few weeks ago. Now that is an excellent reason to exercise daily. Research has shown that regular exercise can help with depression, anxiety, stress, ADHD, dementia, hormonal changes in women …and the list continues.
3. Finding the motivation to exercise is often harder than finding the time
It is so hard, that we actually use time as an excuse not to exercise. I know, I am one of those people.
Knowing that I struggle with motivation, I realised that the likelihood is that most of my patients do too. So I went on a quest to try to understand motivation and came to the following conclusion…
4. Rather form good habits than focus on goals
Habits have more longevity than setting goals and trying to reach them. With goals, as soon as you reach them, the motivation disappears. Habits are fed by the reward you get after completing the task, like feeling stronger or less pain or confident in your skills.
They are not easy to develop, so my suggestion is start with manageable tasks, a bite-size of what you eventually want to do e.g. if you want to exercise every morning, start with 60 seconds of exercise and just develop the habit first…eventually the time and amount of exercise will increase. Manageable is the key. Don’t burn out before you even get started.
5. Be kind to others and be even kinder to yourself
If you aren’t in a good mental space, it makes it hard to be kind to yourself or even to take care of yourself. Negative self-language affects our thoughts, which turn into beliefs. Beliefs affect our actions. Our actions become proof of our bad beliefs and the cycle continues.
Start by always being kind to yourself with the words that you speak over yourself and see how that affects your actions.
6. Go on more adventures, big or small
We all need a chance to replenish our tanks on a regular basis. Adventures give a new perspective on life, seeing the world with a different lens. It gives the head a rest and allows it to be creative. Adventure are food for the soul.
7. Spend less time on smartphones
The ‘experts’ say that sitting is the new smoking but I say smartphone use is. Looking down at the screen for hours at a time puts large amounts of strain on the neck muscles and shoulder. The neck down position also mimics a depressed posture and is linked to releasing hormones in the brain that actually cause depression and stress. Both the strain on structures and hormone release can contribute to headaches and other pain in the neck region.
8. Make an effort to worry less
We care too much what other people think of us, it causes us stress and the other person is none the wiser.
Here is a simple example…you are guaranteed to wear your oldest and holiest pair of underwear when you visit your physio, you worry about it, thinking we are judging you and guess what, we don’t really notice unless you point it out to us. We are more interested in whether you feel better and if you’ve done your exercises.
So stop worrying, it won’t add a single day to your life but it will rob you of the joy of today.
9. Value everyone
It is a huge privilege to be trusted with helping someone to manage and treat their pain. Now more than ever, I see what a huge step it is for someone to make the decision to come see me or one of my colleagues. Know that you are valued when you come to see us and we don’t take your trust lightly.