Why building up mental resilience is the best workout you can have
Jaguar Land Rover
It happens every year. Sometimes it’s a light dusting. Occasionally – as we saw at the end of January – it might be a few inches.
But here in the UK, the merest hint of the white stuff is
enough to sound the alarm bells. The Snowpocalpyse is here!
Of course, it always comes with the same perennial advice.
Pack warm clothes and a shovel, say the newsreaders. Fuel up
and ensure your phone is fully charged, the police suggest. Leave plenty of
time and drive more slowly than usual, says a very nice man from the recovery
Even behind the wheel of the latest Land Rover Discovery or all-wheel
drive Jaguar F-PACE, this is sound advice. Because it pays to be prepared.
At best, nothing will happen but you’ll make your journey in
the comforting knowledge that you’re ready for things to go pear-shaped.
At worst, something will go wrong and you’ll be ready to do
whatever you need: to sit it out, call for help, or even dig for victory.
We’re used to hearing this advice, even though it only
applies for a few days each year in our (relatively) balmy climate.
A similar principle applies to our own mental health for 365
days-a-year. And we should all talk about it a bit more often.
Building up your mental resilience
What do I mean? That there are simple, practical steps we
can all take to improve our mental resilience.
Do them in advance and we’ll be ready for those inevitable
bumps in the road called life: family worries, work stress, relationship
Neglect or ignore them until the moment of crisis and we’ll
be in a similar position to the motorist who thinks ‘I wish I’d packed some
snacks’ while ploughing into that first snowdrift.
So what are these steps?
First, make sure you are in as good physical shape as
possible. Eat well, sleep well and try to do regular exercise.
It’s also crucial to have any persistent illnesses treated.
There’s a strong association between such illness and depression, so do see
Second, get your finances in order. So much stress is down
to money worries so it’s essential to budget effectively and, if necessary, to
seek proper counselling on how to manage debt.
Five effective steps to make you strong mentally
Once you have that solid platform of physical and financial
health, there are five effective steps to really gearing up your mental resilience:
Connect with others. Some of us are lucky enough
to have close relationships with family and friends. If not, try to work on it.
Join a social club, take up a hobby, or build yourself a network in any way you
Keep learning. It doesn’t have to be
work-related. Sign up to a language course, an art group or a new sport. Jaguar
Land Rover has an Employee Learning Scheme offering grants of up to £250 per
year to do exactly this – if you’re offered such a scheme be sure to use it.
Your brain will thank you.
Get active. Most of us know how good we feel
after exercise, so get those endorphins flowing. You don’t have to hit the gym.
Walking the dog, cycling to work or digging the garden will have much the same
Volunteer. People who give up a few hours a week
to help others often say the same thing: I get just as much out of it as those
I am helping. No wonder if has a proven association with mental resilience.
Granted, none of these steps are quite as simple as throwing
a few winter supplies into the boot of your vehicle. They require time, money
and energy – commodities which are not always abundant in our modern lives.
But get them sorted now and, when life gets tricky, it will
pay back in spades. Or, indeed, in snow shovels.
Written by Dr. Steve Iley, Chief Medical Officer at Jaguar Land Rover.
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