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Physical Activities for Your Emotional Health That Aren’t Workouts

At-home workouts have become the new go-to during lockdown


When Working Out Feels Like Work

These days, with limited access to exercise facilities such as gyms, pools, and more, Malaysians have turned to easy at-home workouts to get their blood pumping during this lockdown period – and for good reason.

Undeniably, physical activity has been linked to better overall health. Medical journals have reported how 30 minutes of daily activity is the ideal duration to reap the array of emotional and mental benefits linked to physical exercise.

However, as lockdown lethargy reaches new heights, it’s become normal to feel extra unmotivated when committing to a full workout session. Unfortunately, this also takes a toll on your emotional and mental states, as the rising sense of lethargy becomes stifling.

Luckily, there are still plenty of other physical activities to do during lockdown that aren’t workouts. Better yet: these not only manage to get your body moving, but would also provide you with an emotional outlet for better overall health.

A gloved hand cleaning a mirror filled with soap with a silver and white scrubbing tool

  1. Deep-Clean, Declutter, and Decorate

If you’ve heard the saying, “cluttered spaces make for cluttered minds”, there might just be some truth to it.

According to Kristen Fuller, MD, excessive physical clutter can cause feelings of discomfort and negativity towards your living space – an absolute no-no when we spend the majority of our time at home.

Such dissatisfaction could lead to lethargy or exhaustion, especially if you’re easily overwhelmed. Throwing out unnecessary items could relieve some mental and emotional stress. You could also use this opportunity to declutter and deep-clean your space for better general physical hygiene.

If you’re itching for a change of scenery, you could try redecorating your space to better fit your current lifestyle needs. Simple changes, such as setting up separate spaces to work and relax, could better enforce work-life balance. This way, you’ll be able to implement changes that sustain your mental and emotional wellbeing, while working up a sweat as you move around.

  1. Sow Some Wild Herbs

In this case, Malaysia’s humidity is a blessing, providing an exceptional climate to grow your very own herb garden.

According to ScienceDirect, experiencing direct interaction with nature is restorative for our emotional health, also citing the indirect physical exercise as a factor in the improvement of psychological health.

Aside from being able to harvest your own fresh herbs, growing your own garden is a great way to practice food sustainability. Reset reports an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year, from supermarkets discarding vegetables to consumers throwing out leftovers. Picking out ingredients from your own herb garden will allow direct control over the specific amount to fit your cooking needs.

If you’re looking for fuss-free herbs that don’t require soil, try lemongrass, basil, cilantro and mint – which can be grown through submerging their roots in water. Those wanting to get their hands dirty can try potting chilli, kaffir lime, and thyme plants, which thrive in local weather.


Cooking has positive effects on one’s mental and emotional health


  1. Cook Up A Storm

As cooking means you know the exact ingredients used for dishes, making your own meals has been proven to be healthier than eating out. But that’s not all: Psychology Today also shows that making something from scratch betters emotional health through prompting you to stay present by focusing on the task at hand.

Start compiling a list of recipes you’ve been longing to try out, from homemade comfort foods to your favourite sweet treats, and make time to test them out on different days. Besides keeping you motivated, you’ll also get to move around doing something you enjoy throughout the week.

For those who work irregular hours, spare a day from your weekend for a weekly meal prep session. This will eliminate the hassle of having to cook everything on weeknights, while still providing a sense of emotional sustenance when you tuck into the dish you’ve made.

  1. Prioritise the Pause

It might sound counterintuitive, but taking the time to naturally destress and nourish your body is a fundamental part of physical and emotional wellness.

Simple wellness practices like deep breathing techniques can help you clear your mind. Walking, even at home, is an easy low-impact physical activity that can contribute to better emotional health by helping you mentally reset. Instead of a full 30 minutes, split them up into three 10-minute intervals instead.

Most importantly: invest in good rest, as sleepless nights are both physically and emotionally detrimental. Take note of your sleep position, and work to stimulate better blood flow with memory foam pillows, or by sleeping with a bolster to promote good spine curvature.

Finally, don’t stress or force yourself if you’re feeling too emotionally and physically spent to get yourself into the workout groove. Instead, try out these easy, enjoyable physical activities guaranteed to boost your physical, mental and emotional health.