For a lot of people that might be it. They seethe for a few days and eventually the anger passes. Unfortunately, I am not one of these people. For me, this kind of frustration is a very powerful trigger for my depression and anxiety. It piles on until it starts to suffocate me and after that it feels like there is no escape. Once the shadows get into my head it is very difficult to coax them back out, and to be honest once my depression is triggered I don't want to. My mind wants to wallow in the anger and the sadness. I am stripped of all motivation, of everything except the shadows clouding my mind. And even though I am completely conscious of how badly I need to get back in control, I feel incapable of doing so.
I tried all of my usual fixes. I wrote. I took a very long, very hot shower and just sat in the tub, letting the water run over me. And they all worked for a time, but it kept coming back. So finally, Tuesday night I shoved my headphones into my ears, turned up the volume, and went for a run.
I ran close to a mile with Paramore blasting through my headphones. I felt everything fall away from me. All the ignorant hateful people and their ignorant hateful words were forced out with every heavy exhale. They could not touch me. They could not even catch me.
That night I realized two things. First, riding my bike to and from work four days a week had been doing my legs more good than I'd realized. And second, maybe physical exercise would be a good way to maintain my mental health. I decided that night to make regular exercise a priority in my life. Turns out, there are few greater motivators to get me to exercise than the possibility that it would keep my depression and anxiety under control. I know this is not a cure; my depression and anxiety are a part of my life and they are not going to simply disappear. But I do believe that this will help me live with them more successfully than I have been.
I've decided to open up Mind. Body. Health. to any other bloggers out there who would like to join me. Everyone is welcome, whether you have a certain weight goal in mind, you simply want to be a bit more active, or you even just want to eat a little better. After all, what better motivation is there than having others cheering you on and encouraging you to stick with it? We will post updates to our journeys every Sunday. I don't have any real post structure in mind. You can share what you've been up to, how you've been feeling about it, what your goals are for next week, anything you like. The posts will likely vary quite a bit depending on our different goals and workouts, and that is perfectly fine.
I know that running every day is simply not an option for me. I used to run track and cross country, but my knees were just not up to it. And since my main goal is to maintain my mental health, with the lucky side effect of also benefiting my physical health, I decided that yoga would be a perfect workout for me.
Here is my plan for this week:
- Bike to and from work (little under 4 miles a day, four days a week!)
- Alternate between Beginners Yoga and Yoga for Core #1 every morning
- Eat breakfast every morning
- Take Sunday as a rest day
I hope you will consider joining me in my weekly Mind. Body. Health. posts! If you do choose to, add a link to your post to the linky list below so I and other participating bloggers can find you.
What kind of workouts do you prefer? Do any of you use exercise to maintain your mental health? Let me know in the comments!