(You literally can't get it wrong!)
Until you can get your hands on a copy of 'Your Mental Health Workout - a 5 week programme for a happier, healthier mind' in May 2021, this information will be available for free. It will be helpful for you to make a weekly and daily plan of how you intend to incorporate the exercises below and keep a journal of your progress, What felt easy or difficult? Where do you need more support? When does your motivation start to suffer? Once you've got the book, you will find worksheets and journal guidance as well as tonnes more information in the form of modifications, regressions and progressions of these exercises in order to make Your Mental Health Workout the best fit for you.
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If this were a physical workout what is the first thing you would do?
You wouldn’t just grab some weights and start pumping away. Ideally you would look for guidance on how to start from someone who has the experience to help you create and maintain your goals. Hopefully they’d be someone you could trust and who would look after your best interest.
Physically that usually comes in the form of a personal trainer or group fitness teacher. For your mental health that comes in the form of a therapist, counsellor or a safe reflective space you can share with another person.
Therefore, comparable to embarking on a physical fitness journey, having someone or somewhere or someone that helps you to help yourself and checks in with you each week is where we shall start on Your Mental Health Workout journey.
Your first weekly workout is 1 x Therapeutic space.
Most therapists are currently working online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which makes them super accessible. You can also cover this part of the workout through any kind of group therapy, reflective space, online meetings and coaching opportunities.
3 x 30 minutes per week of cardio vascular exercise.
Depending on your physical and emotional needs you can take this up to 5 times per week. Keep your baseline at three and exercise good self-care if you feel unable to workout on any given day or week.
Here's some ideas on how to make your physical workout more mind orientated:
1. Monitor how you feel about exercising.
2. Check in with your thoughts and feelings about your body.
3. Notice what happens to your mood if you skip a physical workout. What feelings and thoughts do you have?
Are you using them to bully yourself into doing unwanted physical exercise?
4. What do the feelings you find tell you? What is your call to action?
Self-Care as a mental health workout comes in two parts, 2 x EXTERNAL self-care, and 2 x INTERNAL self-care per week:
External self-care activities are the things that make you feel nice, the treats, the pampering, the time out, etc. All these things give you an opportunity to self soothe and reset your nervous system. Stopping here only gives yourself the message that something external will fix what is bothering you. Use external self-care to create the space and time for you to also do the internal work.
Internal self-care involves listening in to yourself, being honest, brave and kind, changing the way you talk to yourself when you make mistakes and forgiving yourself for the things you have done in an attempt to cope.
Using self-care as a tool, gives you the message that you are worthwhile and therefore supports your mental health and the integrity of your mind..
4 x Self-Care per week.
Here is a list of questions to help you narrow down your search for a therapeutic space.
1. Do you want 1:1 sessions or group sessions? 2. What gender would you prefer? 3. What age therapist would you prefer?
4. Do you need them to specialise in a specific thing? e.g. anxiety or bulimia 5. What do you want to get out of going to therapy?
Due to the 2020 Covid 19 pandemic most therapeutic spaces have moved on line, which makes including therapy in your week much more accessible. Providing there is no second wave, most therapists and therapeutic spaces will recommence face to face sessions towards the end of the year. Here are some websites to check out if you are looking for a therapist here in the UK:
Finding a way to exercise out of love and connection for your body rather than out of punishment can sometimes be a challenge. For those who are in recovery from any type of eating disorder, body image issues or exercise addiction as well as those who are not, I suggest using exercise as a way to connect with your body and mind rather than focusing only on the physical output. Here are my top three workouts in London:
PSYCLE - Has a great for a variety of workouts that you can taylor to with with your mood, mind and body.
BARRY'S - Offers you high intensity workouts that will challenge your mind and body.
ROWBOTS - Works with psychological themes, developed to help you access more of your potential both physically and psychologically.
"I worked with Zoe for 6 months, prior to which I had always been quite sceptical about whether I would benefit from therapy . During that time she helped me to get to know myself, understand myself, and be kinder to myself.” - Dr Zoe Williams
‘Zoe’s techniques are easy and give great results. Her work has given me wonderful insight into how I can look after my mind and makes mental wellness feel accessible to everyone. I highly recommend Your Mental Health Workout to anyone who has the desire to improve their emotional health.’ - Pixie Lott
'Through Zoe’s work, I have developed a greater understanding of the importance of the muscles of the mind. If you want to make your journey through life easier, then the first step you need to take is to get to know yourself better and the full potential of your mind. Even at my age, I now know and am able to recognise the things that can be responsible for holding me back if I allow it to.' - Mr Motivator
This ebook is the small but mighty first aid kit you need in your back pocket 'just in case' - ready to help you find your way through a mental health crisis and prepare you for the full 5 week programme
(available May 2021)