5 Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health

By Jessica Tranchina, PT, DPT – January 1, 2021

Happy New Year, Austin Fit readers! If you are like everyone else right now, you are very much looking forward to a fresh start in the New Year. We’ve got this, Austin! 

By now, you have tried every Zoom workout and yoga class Austin has to offer and thoroughly enjoyed them — but now you’re looking for a fresh routine. This is where I can help!

I’ve created a method that we use at Generator Athlete Lab, called the Generator Method, which works to combine all of the necessary components needed to elevate your physical and mental states as well as strengthen your abilities, no matter your performance level. Born out of years of intensive study, the Generator Method combines specified prehab, performance, nutrition, hydration, pliability and recovery to foster one’s full athletic capability.

In recent months, the importance of one’s mental health has become more prominent. Everyone in the world has had to deal with adapting to a new and different lifestyle. This abrupt change has left some struggling with their mental health — which is normal for these circumstances. We are social beings, y’all! We need others. We aren’t made to live in an environment that doesn’t allow for physical touch or in-person communication. 

I’m seeing this all around me more than ever, and it’s necessary to take steps to take care of your mental health just as much as your physical health. 

As a content contributor for AFM in 2021, I’ll be regularly providing information and tips relevant to one of the pillars of the Method that, hopefully, you’ll be able to apply to your life easily and immediately. This month, I’ve put together a few ways to break this cycle if you find yourself in the situation of feeling “less than ideal.” 

Through these exercises, we can elevate our moods and regulate our immune systems. If our autonomic nervous system is always in fight-or-flight mode (the sympathetic nervous system is activated), and it never goes into relaxation (parasympathetic mode), then we have created a loss of balance in our bodies. This loss of balance and chronic stress can dysregulate our immune systems and create inflammation. 

It is very important, now more than ever, to create this balance in our bodies for many reasons, including, but not limited to, decreasing inflammation so disease cannot thrive, boosting the immune system, elevating mood, decreasing stress, decreasing pain, improving sleep, decreasing anxiety and depression and improving athletic performance.

Let’s try these five tips together! I promise they will help. You’ll be very grateful you did it. The second one is a little uncomfortable for some, I understand, but the rewards are great, and you never know, you may become addicted to this new natural “high” — I see it all the time.

1. Breathe

Sit straight up with your feet on the floor and your palms in your lap facing upwards. We will embark on “box breathing” together. Step 1: Exhale all of your air out and hold out for 2 seconds. Step 2: Slowly inhale deeply through your nose to the count of 4 seconds. Step 3: Hold your breath for a count of 4 seconds. Step 4: Slowly exhale to the count of 4 seconds. Step 5: Hold your breath for a slow count of 4 seconds before repeating this process four times through. You will notice immediately that this will calm your ANS (autonomic nervous system) and put you into parasympathetic mode, a feeling of calm and elation.

2. Take a cold shower

Cold hydrotherapy has been used for centuries to help us become more resistant to stress. Studies show that taking a cold shower 2-3 times per week for up to 5 minutes each can help relieve symptoms of stress due to the increase in endorphins it creates. In addition, the cold water sends electrical impulses to your brain to increase alertness, clarity and energy levels. It also helps to improve metabolism and circulation and boost the immune system.

3. Take a hike 

According to one study done by researchers at Stanford University, being in nature can, in fact, boost your mood and improve your mental health. Spending good quality time outside calms anxiety, reduces stress and can lead to a lower risk of depression. Amazing, and so easy! Austin has many beautiful areas to explore; we are so fortunate to have easy access to the many trails in and around our city.

4. Unplug

I know this one may be hard in this day and age of technology, but it is more important now than ever to take frequent breaks from it. Even if for just 10-15 minutes a few times a day, you’ll notice a huge change in your mental state. Use this time to breathe or walk outside.

5. Take a hot bath

Raising your body temperature is another very effective remedy for stress and anxiety. Heat naturally aids in muscle relaxation and boosts mood. Hopping in a sauna or hot tub will quickly help relieve tension and boost endorphins.

Which of the six pillars of the Generator Method do these two tips fall under, you ask? Recovery, of course. And we could all use a little of that right now. 

 

Jessica Tranchina, PT, DPT, is a co-founder of Generator Athlete Lab and has been an athlete her whole life. As the creator of the Generator Method, Tranchina works to help guide others to better performance and recovery and is passionate about bringing the active community of Austin together from all fitness levels and athletic backgrounds. She is the owner of PRIMO Performance and Rehabilitation, started in Austin in 2010, where her expertise and unique skill set have been established as one of the best in her field. NASM-CPT, A.R.T Certified Provider, CKTP.

 
 

Related Articles

December 3, 2021
December 1, 2021
AFM Digital Magazine 

What's Fit, Fun and Local?

Get Austin Fit Magazine delivered to your inbox every month.

Sign Up Today