My Story: Staying Active for My Mental Health

By Saniya Ghanoui —

SD gives advice to people who struggle with staying active as she mentions how important it is for your mental health.


OBOS Today: What advice might you have for women that struggle to live a more active life? 

SD: It’s really easy to do small things. All you really have to do, and I’ve said this a bazillion times—I’m a therapist. All you have to do is walk out your front door and walk for a mile, that’s all you have to do.  

Doesn’t take any extra equipment, except a pair of sneakers and walking is really actually the best all-around exercise, and you don’t have to be iron woman to do it. 

So really, it’s— 

And the benefits of it will outweigh whatever obstacles you think there are. That they really aren’t because everybody has a half hour that they can walk. They just do. 

OBOS Today: I’m curious to hear how the connection between your work as a therapist and your own health. How those balance each other, if you have any input on how your day-to-day work as a therapist impacts your health? 

SD: Well, I have a sit-down job. I am, you know, fond of saying I walk from—When I’m in the office, which I will soon be, I’ll walk from my office to the waiting room, which is like you know, a couple of feet and then back to the office and that’s it.  

So, I get zero exercise during the day, which by the way, is another factor that I’m aware of that—That’s one of the reasons why I really have to make an effort to do things because some people get exercise on their job if they work in a hospital. If you’re a nurse, my God you walk, you know, you walk 10 miles a day as a nurse there you go, you know if I walk a quarter of mile a day at my work I’ve done a lot.  

So, in that way it’s informed it, but I also talk about health a lot if relevant, you know to the individual, and you know I often say I practice what I preach, I’m not telling you to do anything that I don’t do.  

I’m not just reading from a book; you know that this is good for you. So, in that sense it really—It really does inform it. You know, and people tend to respond well to—I’m not just telling them to like, “Do as I say, but not as I do”. 

OBOS Today: How about your relationship to your own mental health how has that been throughout your life? 

SD: Exercise helps. I run anxious, there’s no doubt about that and if I am anxious or worried about something, aerobic exercise is the way to go. 

It just you know, I’ve got all that—all that stuff that’s going on in my head gets translated into breathing, and exercising, and exerting it, and I pretty much, you know, 95% of the time feel better after I exercise.  

It’s because that’s also something in my control that I can do, and for people that run anxious that you just worry about things, that they may or may not be able to control, but one can control what they do. So yes, that’s been very positive that has, mental health wise, a plus.