Power Up: Strengthen your body and mind
Power Up: Strengthen your body and mind is the first Buddy Up mini-campaign, taking place from September 26 to October 2, 2022. Buddy Up is about helping buddies but it’s important to take care of ourselves, too. Building ‘strength’ and resilience is key. Resilience can be defined as our ability to respond to exposure to life’s adversities and our personal qualities that allow us to thrive (Ungar, 2011; Philippe et al., 2020). Building strength within helps us work through emotions, relieve stress, and remember to simply enjoy life. Whichever aspect of your health you’re choosing to strengthen – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – take this week to focus on that.
Strengthen your body
Exercise promotes positive emotional well-being, a reduction in anxiety and stress, a positive self-image and increased self-esteem (Taliaferro, 2009). Exercise has also been shown to reduce moderate depression, as it increases serotonin production (Babiss & Gangwisch, 2009).
This week, we encourage you to do any physical activity you enjoy, or try something new! Here are some ideas: taking a walk in nature, dancing in your kitchen, playing frisbee golf with friends, going to the gym with a buddy, or finding a yoga class on YouTube.
Strengthen your mind
Mindfulness also is one method that allows us to build resilience. It has been described as fostering greater attention to and awareness of present-moment experiences (Creswell, 2017). It is “attentional training that is centred in the current experience with an approach of curiosity, openness and acceptance.” Mindfulness allows us to meet the challenges we experience objectively, as they arise, in the moment. Self-compassion, and meeting our challenges with a non-judgmental mindset, is another important aspect of mindfulness (Rizal, et al., 2020).
Paying attention to what is happening in our minds helps to create awareness about ourselves. We do not have to try too hard or sit in a pretzel. Just reminding ourselves to take a deep breath every time we are sitting in traffic or while waiting for something to load on the computer can create a little space to relax. When we take these little “time outs” they add up to create a calmer and kinder approach to getting through the day. Try it any time you have a moment when you would normally be waiting for something to happen. Take a deep breath, smile to yourself and just let go. Nothing has to happen- just let things be as they are. Other ideas for strengthen the mind include: journaling about your feelings or day, and writing a list of the things you’re grateful for.
The Buddy Up Campaign
Middle-aged men (45-64) die by suicide more than anyone else, including young people and women (Statistics Canada, 2019).
Men are often socialized not to talk about their emotions, and therefore, men as a group may mask their stress and deal with emotional pain through harmful behaviours and actions, and sometimes suicide, instead of seeking help (Ogrodnickzuk & Oliffe, 2011).
Buddy Up is a men’s suicide prevention campaign: a call to action for men, by men, to drive authentic conversation amongst men and their buddies. This is suicide prevention. Participate in the campaign year-round, completing activities – like Power Up – that promote connection and wellbeing.
The role of a Buddy Up Champion is to support a buddy who may be struggling, to learn about men’s suicide prevention and to encourage others to become involved.
Babiss, L. and Gangwisch, J. (2009). Sports participation as a protective factor against depression and suicidal ideation in adolescents as mediated by selfesteem and social support. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 30(5), 376-384.
Ogrodniczuk, J.S., & Oliffe, J. L. (2011). Men and depression. Canadian Family Physician, 57(2),153-155.
Phillipe, R., Schwab, L. & Biasutti, M. (2021). Effects of physical activity and mindfulness on resilience and depression during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700742
Rizal, F., Egan, H., Cook, Keyte, R. & Mantzios, M. (2020). Examining the impact of mindfulness and self-compassion on the relationship between mental health and resiliency. Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.5114/cipp.2020.100792
Statistics Canada. (2019) Table 13-10-0392-01 Deaths and age-specific mortality rates, by selected grouped causes [CANSIM Database]. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310039201
Taliaferro, et al. (2009). Association between physical activity and reduced rates of hopelessness, depression and suicidal behavior among college students. Journal of American College Health, 57(4), 427-435.
Ungar, M. (2011). The social ecology of resilience: Addressing contextual and cultural ambiguity of a nascent construct. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81(1), 1-1.