The ‘Stupid Mental Health’ Walk Trend

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Dr. Karin Ryan, PsyD, LP, Clinic Director, Outpatient Therapist   The 'stupid mental health' social media trend highlights something we’ve all felt at one point or another, knowing something is good for us, but begrudgingly doing it. 

What Is the Stupid Mental Health Trend? 

The stupid walk for stupid mental health trend started with a video on TikTok where a girl is angrily going for a walk in the snow to a peppy soundtrack. The caption read, “going on a stupid walk for my stupid mental health.” The video has amassed 8.4 million views and over 900,000 likes. It's also led to a trend using the hashtag #stupidwalkchallenge.  The idea is that people know walks are good for your health (physical and mental), but it’s hard to find the motivation to do the task.  To see the trending video watch Dr. Karin Ryan, Clinic Director and Outpatient Therapist at Nystrom & Associates, on Twin Cities Live below.   Related: How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

Nystrom & Associates on Twin Cities Live 

Why Did It Go Viral?

The stupid mental health trend is viral because it taps into how we really feel trying to "use skills." It highlights that when we are down, annoyed, tired, or stressed doing these things feels annoying. However, that is okay; we can let these things be annoying and simply not enjoyable, and at the same time, roll with (or stomp out) those feelings. Even if we are snarky doing these things, they still help us. Dr. Karin Ryan lists some of the benefits of doing the activities we know are good for us:  
  • The walk gives us fresh air, and the oxygen directly improves brain functioning, Vitamin D levels, exercises our heart and lungs, and reduces stress.
  • The “stubborn” yoga still brings us stretching, muscle movement, strengthening, and more mindful breathing. 
  • We can be cursing about having to start another zoom call and still end up laughing once.  
Related: How to Help a Loved One With Depression

Work With the Resistance 

Instead of working against the resistance, work with it. Work with yourself and your resistance/exasperation with tiny plans, not even goals. As Dr. Karin Ryan states, it is okay if it sounds like: I am only walking 5 minutes, I am not showering before that activity, or I will go to the store, but I am only getting those 5 things we need.  “Right now, my number one encouragement is for you to just get out of the house, as many times a week as you can. The boredom, lack of anything remotely exciting, and monotony are so hard on our mental health.” So, that might look like doing simple activities, such as: 
  • Go to Target, the library, or get a coffee
  • Walk around the mall for a few minutes 
  • Go to a craft store to get one thing
Making it a point to get out of your home is important. “It is really helpful for you to get out of the house or apartment, so do that, even if you grump about it the whole time.” Related: How Does Abuse Affect Mental Health?

A Word From Nystrom & Associates 

The popularity of the stupid walk for my stupid mental health videos highlights that while we all know going for a walk, or doing self-care is good for us, it doesn’t mean it comes that easily. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to do something that we know will improve our mental, emotional, or physical state.   A qualified mental health professional can help guide you through these practices. They also provide a safe outlet to discuss any challenges you might be facing. Call 1-844-NYSTROM or request an appointment online today.  Related: 10 Tips to Make Therapy More Effective

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