Know Your Limits (Defying Depression & Anxiety)

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One of the major themes that I try to convey to my clients is the importance of using personal milestones as the only comparison model, and this weekend I was reminded of exactly why that is so important.

I’m training for a half marathon, which is a loosely defined term given I’ve been out six weeks with a significant rib injury. This being my first full week back, I am impressed at what my body can do, but I’m also having to be reminded of how important balance is to my overall health. I have to know my limits, and remember what's most important.

I really pushed myself during my long run this weekend - and was super proud of the result. Then I spent nearly two hours battling an anxiety attack because I ran my body so far into the ground.

For those of us with depression and/or anxiety, it’s important to put exercise and nutrition in its proper place. You have to prioritize.

First and foremost, I need exercise and nutrition to help me be a stronger, more confident wife and mom. What's most important is that exercise energizes and strengthens me.

After a long and stressful week, a nice, steady run was what my body needed. When I’m tired and worn down, anxiety creeps in by default. It needs no help from me mentally or emotionally. Sprinting for a quarter-half marathon felt like a tremendous accomplishment (and it was), but it wasn't worth the price my body paid.

We (myself included) tend to make everything about competition and outcomes. But the process is what matters. If you're sick after every workout, how long do you think you’ll continue to train? I can personally attest to the wonders exercise and nutrition have done for my depression and anxiety - but I have to remember what my goals are… And so do you.

Maybe that means let go (at least for now) the desire to finish in a certain time. Maybe it means body composition needs to take a back seat. Focus first and foremost on feeling better after every workout, and listening to your body. Focus on every bite of food helping you truly feel better (and I don't mean the five minutes you indulged your tastebuds.)

Sure, I’d love to run a half marathon in under two hours. But that may not be my reality, depending on what other life events are going on. When I’m rested and my stress is under control, the ability to train at a very intense rate may be possible. However, I certainly can’t afford to spend two hours after every workout sick and battling an attack.

It's a big step to commit to exercise, but it's well worth it - start small. Aim for just five to 10 minutes of walking or stretching once this week. Identify what exercise types help you truly feel better, and focus on using those to help you feel better.

Research shows exercise to be as effective at treating depression and anxiety as medication. It's that powerful. Just remember to use it wisely.

Need support? That's what I'm all about. Send me a message... I'd love to hear from you. 



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