August 19, 2022

There was no light at the end of the tunnel. It was neverending darkness. Agonizing fear and anxiety triggered by uncertainty. It consumed me.

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and it finally hit me. The storm that had been brewing in my mind for months had finally hit me, and it didn’t just rain. It poured. Feelings of pressure, panic and pain overwhelmed me. Fear of what was to come controlled me. I was in a constant battle with my mind trying to conquer the fear and anxiety that became me. 

How does one find the light at the end of the tunnel? How does one escape the pouring rain? How does one fight such a constant battle? It’s easier than you think.

We think bettering our mental health is an impossible endeavour therefore we try and ignore it. But we can’t. It’s like trying to hold down an inflatable beach ball under the water. Eventually, it’s going to pop back up in your face. So don’t ignore it. Dealing with our mental health issues isn’t an impossible endeavour. It can take as little as 15 minutes of commitment a day.

Greg Klym, a local yoga and mindfulness coach, says that 15 minutes of daily yoga can better one’s mental health.

“The practice of yoga in its truest form is the connecting of the mind, body and soul through breath and movement,” said Klym. “Conscious breathing and awareness of the body through postures gets practitioners out of their inner narrative, which is quite often based on fear, worry and self-judgement, and into the present moment.”

Embracing the present moment allows the mind and body to be further connected and at peace. Practising yoga for 15 minutes a day gives one the opportunity to experience this present moment. A moment without battle.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, yoga manages stress, relieves anxiety, improves sleep quality, increases energy and promotes better self-care. These benefits have a tremendous effect on various mental health issues. Psychologists have found yoga to positively impact the improvement of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The practice of yoga and its positive impact on mental illness is significantly important amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Statistics Canada, 52 per cent of Canadians reported worsening mental health since the start of the pandemic. Psychologists say yoga and meditation are vital practices throughout this difficult time.

To cope, one must find presence, a key component of mental wellness. One must let go of the past and not look to the future. Although this requires discipline, it involves minimal effort. It involves taking 15 minutes out of your day. Fifteen minutes to breathe, stretch and find presence. Fifteen minutes to mend your mental health.

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