Physical well-being is an important step towards mental well-being. In this episode, host Nancy Chung interviews Maya Evans, CEO and Founder of Mental and Muscle, LLC, to discuss the importance of both mental and physical fitness for teachers and students.
Physical Well-being and Social Emotional Learning
Teachers and students often find themselves sitting for long hours each day. The result is what feels like a forced sedentary lifestyle for teachers and a model for the students who look up to them. Focusing on your physical well-being also improves your mental well-being, which encourages students to follow your lead and be more active.
But it’s not easy to do, which is why Maya has focused her work on improving our understanding of the connection between physical and mental health. Part of the difficulty of getting started is that people may not know how to start.
About 65% of us need visual learning. We need to be shown what we’re supposed to do. That aspect is missing in a practical way. We’re told, yeah, you know, go workout for an hour at the gym.”
Intentional and Purposeful Movements, Even While Sitting!
One way to address this is to incorporate intentional and purposeful movements throughout the day. Is there a time when you could sneak in a few reps? It doesn’t require a gym or any equipment, just commitment. Even while at your desk, you can do shoulder rolls, squats, ankle rolls, stretches, or anything else that gets your body moving and your mind focused on that movement.
One thing I like to do is go around and teach seated stretches. This is something the teacher can do, then teach the students, and then the students can do at any time during class and it’s not disruptive to everyone else. You’re not getting out of your seat. It can be little things like moving your head or neck side to side. And these can be translated to sitting at home.”
Start Where You’re At
Maya encourages people not to compare themselves to others on social media or elsewhere and to “start where you’re at.” Even small changes to your day can make a difference. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to a colleague’s office instead of calling them, or park a little further away to get some extra steps in when you arrive and leave work.
Commit to these changes and be intentional and purposeful. Being more active helps both the body and mind while also setting a good example for your students.
Maya Evans is on a mission to transform the health and wellness industry with her empowering approach to enhancing one’s mental and physical well-being. She is a certified school psychologist and mind-body wellness coach, as well as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. As CEO and founder of Mental and Muscle LLC, Maya combines her expertise in both mental health and physical fitness to help you build the best version of yourself from the inside out.
Learn more and connect with Maya on Instragram @mentalandmuscle