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One of the best things you could possibly do when you're depressed is to work out. Depending on how severe your depression is, it can work just as well as antidepressants! Pretty cool, huh?
The problem is, of course, that when you're in a low period you don't feel like exercising. You don't feel like doing anything at all. Sometimes you simply can't. All you want to do is sleep or maybe watch Netflix. On a good day.
So how do you get started? How do you stop self-sabotaging -- how do you take that one positive action, that one good decision that will slowly ripple out and create a snowball effect?
The answer is to make it easy.
Don't worry about going to the gym. Don't worry about not having fancy workout clothes and fitness DVDs. All you need is yourself and this list of body weight exercises.
This is the perfect set to do right before a shower in the morning (but of course you can do it any time that suits your life!). Starting your day off right can make a huge difference in how the rest of the day goes, and what can be better than releasing endorphins and taking a refreshing shower! (Showers can be a wonderful tool to reset a bad day.)
Start out with just one set, and adjust it if you have to. The important part is to just do it. A bonus is that you get to cross something off your to-do list first thing in the morning, giving yourself an easy win!
Build up to doing three sets with a minute of rest in between -- it only takes 17 minutes to do the whole thing. Can you imagine being done with your daily workout in less than twenty minutes? :D
But it's really important to not force yourself to do too much. I know that working out usually is about pushing yourself, but this is about your mental health. The point is to build a lasting, positive habit. The physical benefits (like better sleep, weight loss, increased energy levels) are just icing on the cake. So if you just don't have it in you to do three sets today, aim to do just one set because, I'll repeat; the important part is to just do it.
Photo by Emma Simpson
Healthy choices lead to more healthy choices, like going to the dog park to get an easy fix of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, or making a banana pineapple smoothie for breakfast. Even if doing this five-minute workout (that's all it takes for one set!) is the only thing you did today, you did a five-minute workout. That is awesome.
Always celebrate your small wins, and give yourself credit. Life is so much harder when you're living with depression, and you need to recognize how strong and brave you are for just making it through the day.
Print this out, and put it by your bed along with your running shoes. Heck, even sleep in your workout clothes if that's what you need. Write it on your to-do list at least three-four times a week, but a workout like this can be done every day to ensure a mood-boost. That way you also make it easier to build the habit of exercising, because the more you do it the easier it will be and before you know it it's just a part of your normal day. :)
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Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I want to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are and navigate your life with all its twists and turns with grace and an adventurous spirit.
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