I am in my 40’s and have dealt with Depression since being diagnosed when I was 19 years old in College. Back then college kids with depression were prescribed this new miracle pill called Prozac. Good ole Prozac, take 2 pills and sleep 18 hours a day which in turn worked since you can’t be depressed if you are sleeping!
I write this today because, over the many years of dealing with depression, taking different kinds of meds, psychiatrists, methods, etc., there is way better information today than back in the ’90s. The number of phone Apps alone is almost overwhelming in promises to help with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Sorting out which ones may work best for you can take some time but can also be worth researching to better assist in your daily life.
After years of experimenting with different methods of making myself more “stable” there is one thing that consistently works every time and that is exercise. I am a runner and biker and have a weekly routine of running that keeps my mind clear and positive energy flowing. I run 6-7 miles on Tuesday/Thursday and then maybe something longer on Saturday. When the weather is good I will include road or mountain biking in the off days. Now, that’s just my routine, and anybody can create a depression exercise combo that fits your physical ability.
The HARDEST part of exercising for me is getting myself out of the door. Putting on workout clothing pushes me forward. Personally, if I wait until after 10am to run, I know my chances of getting out the door decrease significantly. Whatever that small barrier is that holds you back, once you overcome that hesitant feeling of working out, you then will accomplish and achieve whatever goal you set for that day. It takes an average of two months to change or create a new habit. You have to keep consistent for exercise to become a daily part of your life. Two months is a long time, especially for us who fight depressive thoughts. But if you use all the tools available in today’s world, you can get yourself to a point where exercise is part of your mental management. I say management and not cure because we all know depression is to be handled, not cured. Anyone that can get themselves to actually try and overcome, can be a happy positive person in society.
Walking, running, biking, workout classes whatever are all ways to get your feel-good endorphins up, gain confidence, achieve set goals, and physically look good which in turn helps you mentally feel good. Google “Depression Exercise” and you will see a list of reasons how exercise helps you feel better. Its a proven technique and it just takes your determination to get yourself going.
If you are new to exercise, start slow, and build up. A simple walk down the street can start you towards a positive feeling of accomplishment. Then follow it up again and again, maybe building some distance until you have yourself a routine. I promise you once you are up and moving the rest of your day will improve too. And that is what we are striving for, to feel better about ourselves and the world we live in.
So quick review:
1.) Figure out an exercise that works for you.
2.) Use a planner, online calendar, iPhone watch reminder whatever to set up a plan.
3.) Start slow if new to exercising and build up over time.
4.) Find someone else that might want to work out with you. I know having someone waiting for you to show up as promised just helps to get you there because you don’t want to disappoint.
5.) Reward yourself for working out on a weekly or monthly basis.
6.) Keep on it, again it takes 2 months to form a habit in which you will then miss not exercising.
Exercise is one of many things that helps me to succeed on a daily basis. Yes I have the right meds and yes I have a phone psychologist, but exercise is the number thing that is most helpful in my life. So much so that my teen daughter deals with depression and anxiety and she is starting to figure out, it’s taken some time, that exercising is helping her feel more positive in general.
Good luck and feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a little motivation!