Hi, my name is Sue, and I'm an exercise junkie. I use exercise to reduce my depression and anxiety. (Mic drop).
End of statement. I'm one of the millions of people who probably (I hope) looks fine on the outside, but struggles on the inside.
That's why I exercise and that's why I eat "clean". I have struggled with depression for most of my life. I believe in medication, therapy, meditation, and journaling- anything that can help you get out of bed and function.
For me, toughest aspect is being able to stick with behaviors that help reduce depression. I know- this sounds so silly. If it helps, do it, right? Well, the problem with depression is that you constantly feel like you can't- there are a lot of days where it takes all your energy just to get out of bed.
My mom has never had depression. She wakes up everyday, popping out of bed at 80 years old, makes the coffee, does the dishes, reads the paper, and simply just starts doing her day. She intellectually understand what I deal with, but it's still this foreign concept that she's never fully grasped because she's never really understood why simply getting out of bed can be so hard.
When Michelle Obama shared that the Pandemic had left her with a low level of depression for the first time in her life, my response was of extreme empathy, but also anger. This silent jerk had got to my hero! "Leave my friend alone!!!!"
I think Michelle sharing her struggles resonated with me because, in my mind, she does all the stuff that's supposed to keep you safe. She does all the healthy behaviors, or at least I believe she does. She works out, she has a healthy diet, she's got a purpose- great projects she's working on that are meaningful, and yet, it her hit her too.
It reminded me that we can be doing everything "right" and yet @#$ still happens. It also reminded me that there is no "one size fits all" approach.
For me, the most effective methods for lessening my depression that I have been able to consistently stick with are exercise and a clean diet.
When I share with people how I eat and how I exercise, they always look at me like, "you've got to be kidding me". It's a lot! I eat clean because when I eat CRAP, it triggers my depression. Don't get me wrong- I crave comfort food, but the consequences are way more then just a few extra pounds.
I eat the way I eat so I can feel good. I run because it puts me in a good mood. I do my "rehab" (Pilates-Yoga- Foam Rolling combo) because it's what releases the tension that seems to live in my neck and shoulders. These are behaviors I have been able to stick with.
Now it's time to incorporate some other ones.
3. Talk Therapy (that one was scary to put into writing-made it real🤢🤢🤢).
This week I'm starting with daily meditation and journaling. Here's my Action Step:
This week I will meditate for 10 minutes first thing in the morning, and then journal for 10 minutes. I will post on Social Media when I'm done in order to hold myself accountable. Monday-Wednesday-Friday i will do it by 7 am and on Tuesday and Thursday I will do it by 11 am.
Drop me a comment stating what you would like to work on. I'll help you figure out an Action Step that feels manageable. We got this!