Plummeting down the health scale, like lemmings off a cliff, while we continually scroll up.
In a world that seems to be running on coffee, tech, and, likely, more coffee, it's no surprise that our mental health is taking a hit. We're constantly connected to our screens, engulfed in the doom scroll of social media, and shackled to convenience. So, grab your favourite snack (preferably a healthy one) and sit back for a moment of reflection.
The modern lifestyle can be summed up in three words: "Netflix and chill." And while there's absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in a good show and a cozy blanket, it seems like we've taken this phrase a little too seriously. Our collective posteriors have become well-acquainted with the contours of our couches, and our TVs have become our best friends. As a result, physical activity has taken a backseat, and our mental health is plummeting faster than a roller coaster on steroids.
Physical activity isn't just about looking good in a swimsuit. It's about our bodies and brains functioning at their best. You see, when we exercise, our brains release endorphins, those magical mood-boosting chemicals that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Endorphins are like a shot of happiness straight to your brain – and who wouldn't want that?
But wait, there's more! Physical activity also reduces stress and anxiety, improves sleep, and boosts cognitive function. It's like a multitasking superhero for your brain. So, what happens when we neglect this superhero? Our mental health becomes the villain of the story, and we're left wondering why we're always so cranky, stressed, and sleep-deprived.
We're spending more time than ever before in front of screens – smartphones, tablets, laptops, you name it. It's as if we're all starring in our own high-tech version of "The Truman Show" (remember that movie?) only without the entertaining plot twists, meanwhile our mental health is trapped in a digital maze, desperately searching for an exit.
Now, let's talk about the mind-body connection – or the lack thereof in our sedentary lives. You see, our bodies and minds are like BFFs who can't stand to be apart. When one is happy, the other usually follows suit. But when we're parked in front of a screen for hours on end, our bodies start to feel like neglected stepchildren.
Our muscles weaken, our joints creak, and our energy levels plummet faster than the stock market during a financial crisis. As a result, our mental health takes a nosedive. We become irritable, anxious, and downright miserable. It's like our minds are throwing a temper tantrum because we're not giving them the physical activity they crave. Yet somehow we have come to blame this on ‘getting older’ (and I’ll be writing about this in one of the next posts).
Let’s talk about the cognitive decline of this vicious cycle. Picture this: your brain is a muscle, and like any muscle, it needs regular exercise to stay strong and healthy. But instead of hitting the mental gym, we're binge-watching reality TV shows and scrolling through cat memes. The result? Our cognitive abilities are rustier than a bicycle left out in the rain (which is a sin!).
Apart from the obvious memory lapses (that we also blame on getting older), the art of procrastination takes centre stage. We put off tasks until the last possible moment, convincing ourselves that we work better under pressure. But in reality, our lack of focus and motivation is a direct consequence of our sedentary lifestyle and constant social media distraction.
Ah, the circus of social media – where everyone's life seems picture-perfect, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is the ringmaster. Social media platforms have given us a front-row seat to other people's highlight reels, and it's easy to get caught up in the comparison game.
Breaking free from the shackles of screens and embracing physical activity may seem like a Herculean task, but it's not impossible. It's time for a digital detox, a much-needed intermission in the comedy of declining mental health.
Start small – take short breaks from your screens, go for a walk, and stretch your legs. It's amazing how a breath of fresh air and a dose of vitamin D can do wonders for your mood. And remember, you don't have to run a marathon to reap the benefits of physical activity. A dance party in your living room or a leisurely bike ride can be just as effective.
Let's not forget the importance of play! Remember when we used to play tag, jump rope, or ride our bikes until the streetlights came on? Those were the days when physical activity was pure fun, not a chore.
We've forgotten how to play, how to embrace the childlike joy of movement. But it's time to reintroduce play into our lives. Whether it's a game of Frisbee, a friendly game of hide-and-seek with your kids, or an Outdoor Movement class with Amber, play is a powerful antidote to the decline in mental health.
They say laughter is the best medicine, and they're absolutely right. In the midst of this comedy of errors, it's essential to find humour wherever we can. Laugh at yourself for spending hours on TikTok, chuckle at the absurdity of Instagram influencers, and giggle at the fact that you can't remember your own birthday without your smartphone's reminder.
Laughter not only boosts your mood but also strengthens your mental resilience.
We've become hostages to our screens, neglecting the physical activity that our bodies and minds crave. So, let's all take a cue from this comedy of errors, put down our screens, and go for a walk – because in the end, it's the simple things that bring the most joy and keep our mental health in tip-top shape. And if you happen to trip and fall while walking because you're too engrossed in your smartphone, well, at least you'll have a good story to tell – and laughter, as they say, is the best medicine.