How to exercise with depression and anxiety
If you’ve looked up ‘solutions’ or ‘treatments’ for depression or anxiety, you will definitely have seen that exercise is ALWAYS on the list.
They make it sound so easy.
“Exercise has many benefits, just go and do some every day and you will feel better.”
…..errrr yeh okay sure!
Lack of motivation can be the biggest hurdle.
So before you jump into exercise, it is good to understand and focus on why you are doing it first. Exercise alone won’t cure your depression and anxiety, you need to spend a lot of time working on self esteem exercises as well.
But hey if you come away from the gym looking a little more toned and fresh faced, surely that can only do good things for your self esteem right?!
What’s the point – isn’t it just a distraction from depression and anxiety?
Exercise has been proven to lift your mood by releasing chemicals in your brain such as seratonin and endorphins.
In addition, after exercising I always feel a much better sense of mental clarity. Everyone with depression and anxiety will be used to the feeling of your head being like a tangled mess most of the time!!
I love having this clarity so I can set goals and see my life more clearly.
Even though exercise isn’t going to completely ‘cure’ your depression, it will definitely make you feel better and lift your mood. I don’t know about you but I would definitely take that feeling if only for a few hours.
Fun Fact #1
On average I used to spend about 45 minutes a day, trying to decide if I should go to the gym or not. I know that if I didn’t I would often end up sitting at home, crying and self loathing for my lack of motivation and pro activity.
Try creating a REALISTIC routine and stick to it to avoid this mental turmoil in your head!
Fun Fact #2
I used to go to the gym, be on the cross trainer and close to tears because I felt like I was wasting my life……. wasting my time just being at the gym.
Keeping focus of what you will get out of your exercise routine will help avoid this.
What about my Social Anxiety?
If you have high levels of social anxiety, go for a run outside. Running is FREE, you can whack in your headphones and not need to talk to anyone.
Running is great because you can set goals and then try and beat them. Try running a little bit further or a little bit quicker each day, and you’ll get a massive sense of achievement.
Try not to run on busy roads! This can be extra stressful. Find your nearest park and run there, being in nature for just 5 minutes a day has been proven to improve mood and reduce stress! Bonus!
If you don’t mind being around people, join a gym.
You could do your own workouts, but I find that a lot harder to motivate myself unless I have a strict routine!!
So if you’re like me and can find it hard to motivate yourself, participating in a class is better. Classes give me a sense of being social, and also you can choose which one you enjoy the most.
If you’re using an excuse not to join like cost, trust me, it is definitely worth it. If you get a monthly subscription, every time you go just makes it seem even cheaper!
Joining a sports club would be my biggest recommendation by far!
This counts as a social activity and exercising all in one. Sometimes when you’re having fun it doesn’t even seem like exercising.
In London there are many group activities you can sign up to. If you think that you don’t like sports, maybe you just haven’t found the right one for you!
How do I even motivate myself to leave the house?
If you know you struggle to motivate yourself, you need to sign up for a group activity! You will feel less tempted to stay inside if you have a routine to stick too.
In addition, you are less likely to cancel if you know there are 8 other people waiting for you (not quite sure what sport that is ha) or your team will have to forfeit the game!
If you really don’t want to leave the house because you don’t want people to see you, that’s okay too. A lot of people exercise in their own homes.