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Improving Your Mental Fitness : Relief & Refuel Strategies.

In a world where we’re constantly under pressure to keep up, and with an increasing amount of over stimulation, our nervous system starts to tap out. We begin to recognize that our mind is fatigued. We become easily agitated and eventually hit a level of burnout. It’s become normal to suffer from anxiety and depression. We tend to over schedule and keep saying yes when our body says no. Most people end up reaching out for support when they have tapped out or have received a diagnosis from their health care professional.


As a Health Coach, when I sit down with you to explore mental fitness I will ask you, “what are your current relief and refuel strategies?”


-  A relief strategy is something that we use that instantly stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body and mind (deep breathing).


- A refuel strategy  is something we do to fill our cup back up and re-energize, for example reading or making a nourishing meal. 


We will begin exploring what tools you have for stress management and start recognizing which activities deplete you and which give you energy. Building stress resilience is our goal, by having a nervous system that can bounce back to a natural rhythm after being stimulated.


Time management is a key piece to mental fitness. Creating time for your aspirations and carving out a few minutes throughout the day to connect with your breath. Little resets for the nervous system can do wonders for your mental health.  


Setting realistic goals for self-care was a great starting point for 53-year-old Mary. Mary has a full-time career, three active children, has been recently diagnosed with anxiety and has an unsupportive partner. Her family physician sent a referral over to the Live Well/Bien Vivre program. The doctor wanted her to have access to a Health Coach as part of Mary’s multi-disciplinary team for her wellness.


After completing a partnership agreement and intake assessment, we were ready to dive into finding a good place to begin. I asked Mary what worked well before, the pros and cons of working on her mental fitness and what her aspirations were. Mary’s aspiration to why she wanted to work on her mental fitness was the key to meeting her goals each day. 


We started by working on three self-care activities a day to explore what tools Mary had in her toolbox for relief and refuel strategies. It also gave her an opportunity to explore new tools that she had been wanting to add. Making herself a priority gave Mary more energy and confidence in her life. Friends, coworkers, and most importantly her children saw the shift in Mary. 


The takeaway from working on your mental fitness is that something is better than nothing, and a little goes a long way. Be gentle on yourself, and do your best by asking yourself each day what do you need to nourish yourself? Utilizing a Health Coach to walk beside you for accountability, support, and finding your rhythm, can make all the difference in your mental health.


Written by: Shauna Ferguson


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