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Welcome! / Education Focus: Anxiety

Updated: Apr 22

It is such a crazy time we live in! We hope that you all are well and safe during these difficult times. Covid has changed our lives – in some ways for good and in many not so good. We have had to learn a new way not only for our family, but for our work as well.

We have many ideas and hopes taking this project forward. All your ideas and opinions have helped formulate a brand that we are proud to say belongs to us all. One of these ideas was to bring in a larger wellness component to InsideOut fitness. Almost 100% of you selected improved or maintained health as a motivating factor. We have gone through all your feedback and hope to motivate and inspire you to a better life, inside and out.

So the first idea we are implementing is a wellness newsletter. I would encourage you to let us know of topics you are interested in and we will source the professionals to share info on these topics. We won’t inundate you with emails; just let us know if you don’t want to receive them and we will take you off the list.

In your registration we have asked many health and exercise related questions to get a good sense of what we could do differently, so as to do better and on the whole improve wellness. Below is a brief summary of your answers:

· 25% of you have joint problems, of which 7% have a known condition · 15% have chronic pain conditions · 8% blood pressure problems · 36% of you are without co-morbidities and a smaller number with other conditions · 98% of you are motivated by health · 53% are motivated by the social aspect and fitness · 70% of you are motivated by reducing stress

On a professional level I am a Physiotherapist. So health and wellness are personally very closely integrated into my life and purpose. I know the value of education in health specifically and how it translates to reduced fear and anxiety; the more you know the less you fear.

Injuries, pain, and health related reasons are a common cause for decreasing activity. Research has shown over the years that for almost all medical and pain related conditions, controlled and graded exercise is almost always beneficial. The key to this is how much is too much – and not enough.

So what to do if you have an injury?

  1. If your area of pain is not getting better, is swollen, or red; you should seek a medical opinion from your physio or doctor

  2. Exercises are usually too much if you find it is making your symptoms worse whilst you do it, so do a little less (range,time and intensity)

  3. It is always best to train in the range that is without pain unless with expert supervision

  4. If you find you are needing medication for pain relief more often than not, it’s time to investigate further!

  5. Not doing enough exercise can lead to both physical and mental health problems. So keep moving, even if it’s just walking!

In time I hope to go through some of the topics raised in you answers and comments. This week we decided to explore the elephant in our living rooms – anxiety. Now more than ever we are all feeling it one way or another.

Dr Comrie has kindly supported our initiative in sharing her thoughts and insights into this current topic and to remind us that we are not alone!

If you have something to share or an inspiring story to tell, please feel free to send an email to us. We would love to hear from you!

Education Focus:

Anxiety (By Dr Laura Comrie)

The COVID-19 pandemic has so many layers. It started as something far away and unknown, only to suddenly arrive and insert itself into our lives in an incomprehensible, insidious, and unpleasant manner. Our plans have literally come to a standstill as dreams evaporated. We are left in survival mode, living from day to day.

Even as a mental health care practitioner I too felt fear and anxiety on a personal level. For me my concern wasn’t so much about the illness itself, but more a feeling of impending doom for the country and a sense that it was completely beyond any of our control. My second level of panic came with the immediate financial threat that the shutdown had on me and my family’s means of livelihood and the instant impact it had on our finances. Layered onto these concerns and fears also had me worrying about my kids, their schooling, their future as well as the unknown global consequences. More questions than answers. All of this being fed on an unhealthy 24hour news-cycle diet, further enhanced by rumour and fear mongering on social media.

I struggled to self-initiate in the first three weeks of lockdown. I felt down and tired. Then Jason launched his fitness classes online, providing something familiar for me to cling to. Like an old friend, these classes came with a healthy dose of regular and reliable community support. It gave me space to breathe, something to savour and look forward to. Me-time luxury in my own house, a welcome escape from the seemingly endless demands of a lockdown family. All this with the added benefit of feeling good, energized, and healthier for the remainder of the day.

Anxiety is a normalized part of our lives. It remains an important human survival tool and performance driver. But if out of balance it can overwhelm; it can escalate to an unreasonable level clouding our judgement and functioning. I continuously have to remind my family, friends, and patients that these are not normal times and that it is reasonable to feel like you are not coping. It’s ok. It’s human and healthy to be fearful and worried. But it must not invade and rule your life. If anxiety is taking its toll on you, you must take action – it can be managed.

When feeling overwhelmed like this I encourage patients to go back to basics:

  1. Get enough sleep

  2. Eat well

  3. Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake

  4. Attempt to minimize stressful personal interactions

  5. Try not fixate on problems outside your area of control

  6. Very importantly, exercise and spend time in nature (even if you don’t feel like it).

Sometimes this is not sufficient and you will need to explore further options. Chatting to your GP is a good, reassuring place to start. They may decide that a referral to a specialist or psychologist is warranted. It is important to know that everyone is different and that none of us are immune from life's general stress and mental pressure. Anxiety knows no boundaries, respects no class system or company hierarchy. We are all susceptible. Each case is different. There is no one solution. You are not alone. Don’t fear reaching out and asking for help.

Dr Laura Comrie

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