It’s no secret that a regular fitness routine helps people deal with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. But there’s been recent attention going the opposite direction: mental health issues can prevent people from starting fitness routines they know will help. The Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC) is doing their part to help break down those barriers by providing comprehensive services for both mental and physical health.
Wellness coach Joline Atkins described how many of her clients feel stuck when trying to develop an effective fitness plan. They experience frustration in slow progress, fear in investing in the solutions they need, envy of others who seemed to have found it easy. They become stuck in these feelings, further preventing them from escaping. These mental blockers keep them from achieving their fitness goals.
“We’ve all experienced those snags when starting a fitness routine,” explains Jennifer Martinez, Manager at FEBC. “For a lot of people, there are underlying issues that must be addressed before they can start a routine. We want to make sure our members have the tools to start addressing those issues so they can move on to their greater wellness goals.”
Exercise helps people deal with anxiety and depression. But when anxiety and depression prevent someone from getting into a fitness routine, it can feel like a catch-22. Some people experience success starting with fitness, but others don’t know why they are having trouble. That’s when exploring the mental health issues first can be the best option.
It’s best to consult with professionals, but for people who do not have easy access to them (if they know they aren’t dealing with a serious mental health issue), there are tools available to them. For many, keeping journals to simply track their moods or emotions can be effective. Others need more guided help, which they can often get using mental health services or applications.
When looking for a mental health app, it’s important to research the team behind it. Without connection to clinicians or other professionals, it’s impossible to tell if the app is legitimate. It’s a good idea to look for credentials and try to get references.
“We now offer access to services that are backed by health professionals,” explains Martinez. “They work because they have years of experience behind them. We did all the research so our members could get right in there and start working toward results that will help them achieve their goals.”
Of course, self-help health services like apps will never replace professional help for dealing with serious mental health concerns. But there have been positive results from some clinically tested apps that help users deal with anxiety and sleep problems on their own. Says Martinez, “We encourage anyone who’s having trouble with one or the other (physical or mental health) to try a comprehensive approach, and we now offer all the tools necessary to do so.”