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How to Get Motivated to Exercise When You Have Depression

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When the going gets tough, simple procedures like getting dressed in the morning or taking a shower can represent a real burden, let alone going for a morning jog. When you have depression or when you feel stressed and agitated due to the daily grind and workload, it can feel utterly impossible to get your motivation going. Luckily, doing regular physical exercise can aid in boosting your self-esteem and recharge you with a positive mindset. It cannot do miracles, because each individual might be depressed for different reasons, but exercise can get your spirit revived in time. And here are some tips to get you motivated.

Implement “the baby steps” rule

People who are prone to splashes of emotions and uncontrolled spiraling of feelings of agitation, nervousness, and self-blame can easily get de-motivated if they set too high expectations. Start small, take diligent baby steps, and give yourself time to get used to a workout regime. You don’t need to hit the gym four times per week or do excessive cardio or CrossFit programs. Not reaching your goals or not meeting those high expectations can easily let you down. Hence, start with a daily 30-minute brisk walk, then build that up to jogging around the neighborhood, cycling to the supermarket, or walking to work instead of driving.

Set a clear plan

A depressive state is a passing thing. It may come and go whenever you get moody, tired, or stressed out. By incorporating a clear workout schedule and making a steady exercise plan, you will have a path to do the much-needed workout that will boost your confidence and restore your mental and physical energy. Get a diary, set a fixed calendar date, even set an alarm or a reminder, and if you have depressive thoughts or feelings aim to exercise instead of retreating to your bed. If you’d prefer not to exercise with a group or in a public area, you can get some great indoor cardio essentials like a treadmill, air bike, jump rope, and some kettlebells, and make your very own home gym.

Embrace your preferences

If you feel that you are about to experience yet another depressive episode, cut yourself some slack. Call in sick from work, take a short nap, go out for some fresh air, and do a mild workout to get the adrenaline pumping. No matter how stressed and depressed you might be feeling, doing some form of workout can totally enliven all your senses and restore your energy and uplift your mood. Don’t do heavy weight lifting.  On the contrary, when you are experiencing a severe depressive episode, try doing something that you absolutely love. Go dancing, play table tennis, try Zumba, go swimming, hiking, or just meditate in your backyard.

Find an understanding workout buddy

For people who are battling depression, working in a foreign environment like crowded gyms can represent a big letdown. As the depression can be an ongoing struggle, one of the best ways to get yourself motivated to exercise is to invite a compassionate workout buddy. Depression is easier to deal with in the company of a friend who understands what you are going through. Once you start exercising with a buddy who can act as your motivational coach, pushing you to go forward, you will surely feel better and be ready to face any challenges. Social interaction is a great way to battle depression, and when you combine it with exercise, you get a productive combo.

Utilize the reward system and have rest days

When you are striving to combat depression, you need to be aware that giving yourself some break time is a must. You need to reward yourself after a job well done, like running 5k or lifting significantly high weights. You must also treat yourself with some rest days when you dedicate time to mentally unwind. It is perfectly okay to skip a training session when you feel overwhelmed or sleep through the training. Avoid the phrase “should have done something” as that could make you feel even worse. Embrace the days when you don’t exercise and spend time doing some mindful reading instead to recharge your spirit.

Never observe exercise as a cure for the depressive state, but rather as a means of useful treatment. Our body and mind can help us heal and combat any difficult circumstances without sacrificing the social and biological aspects of life.



About the Author: Now working as an editor in chief, Nina Collins is a fitness nut addicted to coffee. Trying out a digital nomad kind of life while exploring the world one step at the time.

Breathing in books and museums while exploring the world.

Image from rawpixel.com

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.

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1 thoughts on “How to Get Motivated to Exercise When You Have Depression

  1. Ty Cobb says:

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you offer. Very inspiring and clear explanation. You’ve really covered up almost all the possible info that every fitness enthusiast should follow. Worth sharing! Please continue sharing your updates! Thanks a lot!

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