Defy Depression

 

Over the weekend, I shared a post about my struggle with anxiety and depression, and I was absolutely floored at the response. For me, health and fitness (and my faith) are at the root of the growth I’ve experienced in spite of my struggles.

 

I know I’m not alone, but this disease certainly convinces to the contrary. More and more, I meet others (moms, in particular) who struggle, and I’ve decided to begin a series that’s specifically tailored to helping those battling anxiety and depression feel better.

 

Monday’s are my hardest day. It’s a day of transition, when my husband returns to work, my to do list stares me in the face, and the “what ifs” of the week emerge. It’s that uphill clicking of the rollercoaster, when you don’t know exactly what’s on the other side.

 

To be honest, Mondays determine my entire week. If I get my exercise in on Monday, I’m on pace for the entire week and set the precedent. If I eat the right things, I’m more likely to make good decisions for the days that follow. And so on and so forth, for dishes and laundry and work tasks and all the other things that face me in my week.

 

I’ve come a long way in my ability to do small things that produce big results. It starts with focusing on one thing at a time, and being intentional

 

- Focus on the process. I’m incredibly outcome-based in my focus, and it’s to my own detriment. Looking to results is a no-win situation for me, because I’m glass half-empty. The cool thing though about focusing on the process, is that doing the right things will eventually produce the right results, given enough time and consistency.Don’t get discouraged that three hours of dedication hasn’t yielded your desired result (guilty as charged.) Instead, use your energy on doing what you need to do, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that’s found solely in getting it done. And seriously, only one thing at a time! Don't try to change it all all at once.

 

- Do less. Yes, so this sounds a bit contradictory, but how many times have you said “oh I can’t eat right,” or “I can’t exercise,” BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE TIME. You’ve heard the airplane analogy of putting your own oxygen mask on first because you can’t help someone when you’re unconscious. It’s really true. But so is this: imagine not putting your oxygen mask on because you’re too busy. Purge what you must and stop using words like “should” or “have to.” There is very little in life that’s mandatory. Cut out what’s holding you back from actually living and enjoying your life.

 

- Give yourself grace. Perfection is impossible. Enough said.

 

- Stop comparing. Life is not a contest. Social media is not real life. (Here’s a trick I’ve used before: when I feel like life’s a mess, I scroll through my own feed and am always impressed at how well I really have it together. haha!) Embrace who you are and remember that there’s only one you, and you fill a vital role in the lives of those around you.

 

If I’m being honest, today was like any other Monday. But I was proactive in my approach to the week, and am amazed at how this tough day has proven to be not so difficult.

 

Keep this tucked away for this week and weekend, remembering that Tuesday is just as good a day to start as Monday! Or Wednesday… you get it? Maybe you’re finding this late, or your Monday was a wash - why not put these in place so tomorrow is a little better than today!

 

  • Have something pre-made for breakfast that is high in protein and healthy fats and low in carbs. Sheerly having the right nutrients in your system has a major impact on depression symptoms.

 

  • Plan an outing, outside, with others. Vitamin D has been linked to improved mood and overall health, and exercise alone has the ability to improve your mood, your perception of yourself and your outlook on life. It will make you feel incredibly accomplished. Walk to the park, run through an open field, whatever - just make a plan with someone who will be expecting you. I’m known to bail on myself but not someone else, so use that to your advantage.

 

  • Do nothing. Seriously. Find 10 minutes and sit in total silence. You’ve got 1,440 minutes today and 10,080 in your week. You can spare 10.


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