One of my primary lessons in 2017 was....depression and anxiety really sucks. If you have never experienced this, you may not be able to fully understand the crazy mental game and the overwhelming impact it has on your body, mind, and soul. I feel bad for my family who had to carry this cross with me if only by having to live under the same roof and not really be able to do much. But there are things you can do to help those with depression and of most importance is to be kind and not judgmental.
But for those battling depression and anxiety, can I talk to you about exercise? Trust me. I know! You feel like crap and don't want to move. Every step is pure torture. You just want to climb into bed and hide. I know. I do understand as when my depression starts rearing its ugly head, I lose all interest in working out. All motivation is gone. ZAP! And the end of 2017 was pure torture as every step I did take while running felt like dragging a zillion pounds. I wasn't seeing the happy results I wanted to see but don't give up. It will pass. It will. And it did for me and to be completely honest, my faith carried me and God's grace gave me a break from symptoms. Thank you!
With that said, I still do not want to undermine the value of working out for depression, anxiety, and more. Exercise has many healthy benefits for all of us, yes, even us without depression or anxiety. Check them out!
- Decreases depression symptoms - establishing and sticking to a schedule helps you reap the most benefits and when you are exercising, your mind may get a break from depressive thoughts
- Alleviates anxiety - the repetitive movements and thoughts of exercise can ease the anxious thoughts especially when you can focus on the wind on your face, etc. while you work out
- Reduces stress - stress makes you tense and regular exercise can flush out the tension and get your blood flowing…and happier thoughts flowing
- Reduces ADHD symptoms - physical activity boosts dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels and this affects focus and attention - things that can reduce ADHD symptoms as well as depression, anxiety, and stress
- Helps get you "unstuck" from PTSD and trauma - especially true for exercises that include cross body movements where you totally engage your mind in what it is doing and how your body is feeling
- Helps heal brain from substance abuse - exercise can provide another avenue to deal with what may lead you to substance abuse or an outlet to do something different
- Improves learning ability - with a more alert mind, you are able to retain what you are reading better so why not try to read something while logging some miles on the treadmill
- Boosts self esteem - nothing is more fulfilling than the sense the satisfaction you get after nailing a good workout or getting up early to workout
- Improves mood - this goes hand in hand with self esteem but it can also be the boost in mood to get out of grouchies after a long day and personally, it helps me be a better, more calm mom
- Increases energy - yes, working out can increase your energy levels even when you feel too tired to work out
- Improves sleep - as long as you don't do a huge energy boosting workout right before bed time, the added physical activity in your life will help make you sleep more peacefully through the night
- Reduces weight - as long as you don't follow each workout with calorie dense foods, you can stay a little slimmer with a regular workout program but be sure to vary your workouts as your body is pretty amazing at learning and adapting to allow it to work more easily
- Improves your health - doctors say get moving for a good reason and who wouldn't want to decrease their cholesterol or improve their cardiovascular health
Y'all, it works!
And I am a work in progress and not every day is a 5 star amazing day. Tuesday was a tough day. I ran just a mile before work and at work I found out a dear friend's cancer moved into his bones. It broke my heart. It made me a bit angry about all those impacted my cancer in my life. Way too many. By the time I picked up darling daughter I was a grumpy momma and that workout I planned to do after work, I did not want to do. I wanted to take a bath, put on my pj's, and climb into bed for the rest of the night. My inner child was pouting and stomping her feet but....
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I ran another mile on the treadmill and did a new cross training workout that kicked my booty in more ways than one and when I was done....
I felt better. I couldn't change the bad news but I was more at peace in my life and honestly, pretty darn proud of myself for working out. I even commented to darling daughter post workout that maybe I shouldn't talk to anyone before working out. She laughed. I apologized for being a very grumpy mom. She forgave me. And in all of that there is a very important lesson that exercise does improve your mood.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for great workouts available at my fingertips that benefit my mind, body, and soul.
Daily Bible Verse: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. ~ 2 Timothy 3