How moving more can boost your mind, mood and productivity
By Karrie Comeau, CFA, wife, mother of two, board member, daughter, friend and avid reader
Burnout. It happens to the best of us. If you’re like many people, you may find yourself staring at your computer screen with your to-do list next to you — a seemingly never-ending list of emails to respond to, marketing plans to finalize, payroll, social media posts to create, and various other odds and ends that need to get done in the studio. So many of us today know all too well the feelings of being overwhelmed and, many times, a desire to do none of it. These feelings are especially common for small-business owners and entrepreneurs who tend to wear many (if not all) of the hats in their businesses and often blend that line between work and home. When you get to a point of non-stop hustling, it has a tendency to leave you feeling drained, unorganized and unmotivated.
One of the ways to combat these feelings is through physical activity. While exercise has many physical benefits, there are many positive mental health benefits as well. While stress can manifest physically in your body as tense muscles and poor breathing, exercise can help to combat that feeling of fight or flight as your blood flow increases and your body systems regulate. This can help your body cope with stress, depression and anxiety. As the endorphins kick in, you can sharpen your memory and your thinking as well as increase your energy and boost your mood. All of these factors can lead to an increase in creativity and productivity and help prevent that feeling of burnout.
I first discovered yoga when I was a stressed-out elementary school teacher. While I often felt like I didn’t have the time for my hour-long classes, something kept drawing me back to the practice. Over time I realized the combination of breathing and physical movement helped me to combat daily stressors in my life and helped me to become more proactive versus reactive in my responses and decision making. Now as a business owner, I can feel when I haven’t had enough movement for the day and can noticeably feel when it’s been too long since I’ve been on my mat.
Implementing some type of weekly, or even daily, physical exercise into your routine can help you prevent burnout in your daily life. Start small and start with something that works for you to set yourself up for success.
Your movement can be as simple as walking around your office or neighborhood (without the phone!), a couple of stretches, or even some jumping jacks, squats and burpees. Schedule a class that forces you to leave the home or office behind, whether it’s yoga, crossfit, bootcamp, or barre.
Most importantly, pick a time of day when you have generally have more energy. If you are not a morning person, 6 a.m. workouts may not be a thing for you, but early evening may be more up your alley. The important part is to try to stay consistent, but give yourself some grace if you can’t stick to a regular schedule. Finding a friend or an accountability buddy also can help you to stay on track and help keep you motivated, even on those days that you are not (we’ve all been there!). The long-term benefits of physical movement can make a lasting impact on many aspects of your life, and there’s no time like the present to begin!
Karrie Comeau is the owner of Move Fitness, an aerial yoga and yoga studio in Bluffton. She opened the business to share the benefits of yoga with her community as it had lasting impacts on her life. She has lived in the Lowcountry for 12 years and just welcomed her first child, a son, in December.