Depression and Fitness… What Nobody Wants To Talk About
It’s 2017. We talk about cancer. We talk about the flu. We talk about other chronic illnesses, but we don’t talk about mental illness. The topic of mental illness is still taboo and I don’t understand why. Okay, I do understand why, but I don’t want it to be this way. People don’t want to talk about depression because it isn’t something that you can always see. If you are sick, people don’t judge your actions, but when you are depressed, people think you’re crazy. I hate that there is still so much stigma around mental illness. So I want to talk about it. I want to break that barrier.
First things first, I have struggled with depression since I was a kid. Growing up, I never felt that it was okay to feel depressed. I was just sad and being dramatic and needed to get over it. I had to pretend to be okay even when I wasn’t because people didn’t understand what depression really meant. It was just easier to pretend to be okay than to try to explain something to people that I didn’t understand.
Nowadays, people are starting to understand depression a bit more, but there is still this idea that it is something that you can just get over. Like you don’t have it as bad as some people do, so you don’t deserve to be sad. That’s not what it is though. Depression isn’t something that you choose. It isn’t always caused by something that happened. In fact, it can become incredibly frustrating because your logical side knows that everything is fine but your brain is still telling you that you’re depressed. It’s a chemical imbalance.
Exercise and Depression
That being said, it is a known fact that exercise helps fight depression. It isn’t always as simple as “have you tried working out?” though. Battling depression can take up all of your energy and the last thing you want to do is get up and exert even more energy. This is something that people don’t want to talk about because depression has this weird reverse effect. It’s like trying to go to a party when all you want to do is stay home and watch Netflix. It’s exhausting and can feel hopeless. Exercise is similar. Even though you know it will help, that knowledge isn’t always enough to pull you out of your black hole. I can tell you from first hand experience that it is worth it to get up and just go exercise. Here are my four tips for pushing past the depression and getting your workout in.
1. Drink a Pre-Workout
Pre-workout can come in powder form to drink or even capsule form. They contain a large amount of caffeine and other “uppers”. As long as you choose the right one for you, they won’t cause any harm. This always works for me for two reasons. First, the caffeine boosts my mood (at least temporarily) and helps give me the energy to workout. Second, I don’t want to waste money. They can get expensive and I know that, once I’ve had it, I don’t want to let it go to waste. Drink your pre-workout, give it 30 minutes, then go hit the gym.
2. Get Fun Workout Clothes
It’s hard to let depression win when you’re feeling super cute. Invest in some pants that flaunt your curves. Buy some tops in your favorite color. Get a new pair of shoes or lifting gloves. You can use clothing to help motivate you. If you’re already wearing it, you might as well go show it off!
3. Build a Motivating Playlist
Are you a Britney girl? Or maybe you’re more of a Beyonce? Make a playlist of your favorite songs that will get you pumped up. Music can greatly influence your mood. All you have to do is press play.
4. Ask For Help
Enlist the help of your sister, your spouse, or your best friend. Tell them that you are struggling with your depression and that you need help going to the gym. My husband is my accountability partner and, even though it may irritate me at the time, he always pushes me to workout even when I’m not in the mood. And guess what… 10 times out of 10, I am super thankful at the end of it that he did! Sometimes you need someone to tell you to get off your butt and get in the car because we’re going to the gym.
These 4 methods have helped me to be able to continue with my exercise routine, even when I’m not feeling up to it. I drink a pre-workout, get in some fun active wear, blast my motivating playlist, and if that doesn’t work, I enlist the help of my husband. Fitness is an essential component to living a healthy life. It’s time to take control of depression and, in turn, control of our lives!