Since childhood, I have suffered from depression and anxiety. For years I searched for the perfect pill to give me some relief from the darkness and fear that controlled my life. In my twenties and thirties I tried many different medications and “cocktails” combining different anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. Few had any impact and the ones that did were short lived. One of the things that did help me was getting in tune with my body and incorporating regular exercise into my life.
Exercise has been shown to increase endorphins and serotonin, the feel good chemicals, in the body. In fact, exercise is almost as effective as many medications for relieving depressive symptoms. As I got older and got to know myself I learned through much trial and error what things worked and what didn’t to help me ease the depressive and anxious feelings I have on a daily basis. Not every day is easy and I still struggle with these feelings. But learning to take care of myself, eating right and getting in my kickboxing help me go to that dark place less than before.
So, if you’re feeing down or overwhelmed and you want to hide under the covers and not leave the house, just try to make the move out the door. Take a walk or do some stretching and get your body moving. Sometimes, just taking that step outside and moving yourself is enough to change your mood and set yourself in the right direction for the day. It doesn’t have to be an hour, it doesn’t have to be an all out sweat fest. Just do something. I know once I make that move, a switch usually flips and then I don’t stop working out until I’ve sweated out all the yuckiness and negative thoughts. The first step out of your head is the hardest.