Feeling like you need to get back into shape but are down in the dumps and have no motivation? You’re in the right place! Exercise releases endorphins in the body, boosts your energy, and helps fight depression. But how do you start exercising when you’re feeling too down to even get off of the couch?
The best cure for feeling down is exercise. It’s budget-friendly, and can even be completely free if done in the privacy of your own home. There’s no need to wait until your depression has been treated to begin exercise. Begin exercising to TREAT your depression!
The Hardest Part Is Getting Started
Stop looking for motivation and become your own motivation! Realizing that you’re feeling unmotivated is part of feeling down and that starting a regular exercise routine is an important part of the cure. It’s a lot like getting out of bed in the morning on a rainy day. You might not feel like it; but you know that if you don’t, things are only going to go downhill from there.
All you have to do is physically get out of bed, your mind will do the rest. This is because motivation is actually a mental muscle that works a lot like your other muscles! The more you use it, the stronger it gets. There are good and bad ways to train your other muscles effectively, there are good ways to train your motivation. The more you train it, the stronger it gets as you go along, and makes it easier for you to establish and maintain a good exercise habit.
Here are a few good motivation tips to get you going!
Working out doesn’t have to be 2 hours of heavy lifting and 1 hour of cardio everyday. You also don’t have to worry about finding a gym, worrying about looking less than knowledgeable in the weight room, and what you look like when you’re a sweaty mess. You don’t need any added stress into your life. Start small, start simple, start at home. Start with walking. If it’s nice outside, take a walk around your neighborhood. If it’s dreary and depressing outside, stay inside and do a few moves in your living room. It doesn’t have to be the best workout you’ve ever done, you just have to move. Take some time to stretch while watching your favorite TV show. Do moves that make you happy, that you’re capable of doing, not ones that seem too hard and you aren’t excited about doing.
The most important thing is to make a deal with yourself that you’ll do some kind of movement every day rather than doing nothing. Once you’ve created a streak of doing some activity every day, you can take the next step of trying to do a little more today than you did yesterday, and setting realistic goals or challenges that will keep things interesting. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to run a half marathon at the end of the month when you haven’t been training for one, make your goals realistic and achievable.
The best way to turn a good choice into a continuous stretch of good choices is by reward. We talked about doing some sort of activity everyday rather than doing none at all. Here is an opportunity for a small reward. Once again, start small. Set a goal that if you do some sort of activity everyday that week that you can do something you like that weekend, such as go to the movies, buy an accessory item that you’ve been wanting, etc. It doesn’t matter what the reward is, as long as it makes you feel like you’ve earned it, and makes you want to earn more. Try not to break the bank with this and keep in mind small rewards so you can do it more frequently. Also, try picking a reward that you used to love to do before you were feeling down.
Once you’ve made it past your first goal, set another one that’s a little more challenging. Try something like working your way up to 30 minutes of exercise, and find a new reward. Keep in mind that progress doesn’t require perfection. If you miss a day, it’s okay! We all are entitled personal days.
Join The Community!
Be an advocate for others, help let others know that this a great way to fight depression! Tell your story. Preach about your success! The problem with depression is that people who aren’t depressed don’t quite seem to understand what you’re going through. Others seem to think that you just need to “snap out of it.” This isn’t any more true than someone with anxiety, asthma, or high cholesterol. People tend to do well at overcoming depression when they have the support and company of people who do know what you’re dealing with. If you’re struggling to maintain a regular exercise routine, find others that struggle with this too.
Social media is great for this. People feed off of positive energy. If you’re posting about your achievements and success, people will likely be there to cheer you on. What is more motivating than others wanting you to succeed? There is always a community board, forum, thread for any topic across the board. Overeaters, smokers, anything you could think of. Here you can find exercise challenges, peer counseling, and meet new friends that are going through the same things you are.
Exercise is a great way to build up your self esteem, boost your energy, and improve your outlook on life. All you have to do is get started! Remember, it’s a mental muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.