How to Get Motivated to Exercise When You’re Feeling Depressed
Being depressed can make it really difficult to find the motivation to exercise. This is because when you are depressed you lose the interest in doing normal activities and the ability to enjoy them too.
However, this does not mean that you have to wait for your depression to go away until you can start exercising regularly. Actually, it means the contrary. You need to stop looking for your motivation. Just recognize the feeling like a part of the illness and start a regular exercise routine as a part of the cure.
The good news is that getting into an effective exercise routine is not very unpleasant and difficult. If you are in depression, it does not mean that you need to force yourself to do stuff, you can just start bit by bit. Motivation is actually a mental muscle and it works like all your other muscles, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
So, as there are good and bad ways to train your muscles, you can also train your motivation and today we will tell you some tips to get you started.
How to Get Motivated When Depressed
Start From Today and Move Forward
Exercising does not always have to be 60 minutes of heart-pounding, heavy-breathing activity that will leave you sweaty, sore and exhausted. You also do not need equipment or a gym membership. You can just start with walking, or going up and down the stairs or just stretching while you are watching TV. However, you need to make a deal with yourself that you will do something every day. Once you have started doing it, the next step is to do more today than yesterday and set some realistic goals or physical challenges that will keep things interesting.
Pay Attention to How Your Efforts Make You Feel
One of the main benefits of exercising, when depressed, is the way that it stimulates the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters in your brain. These are the body‘s natural feel-good chemicals and they will give a mood boost and will help the motivation to keep going at the same time.
Make sure to notice how you are feeling before, during, and after your exercise. Did your energy go up when you started? Did you feel better afterward or before? How do you feel if you skip your workouts? If you are struggling some days to do it, take a moment and ask yourself how do you wanna feel today and which choice can make that happen?
Still, bear in mind that exercise does not substitute other forms of treatment when you are dealing with depression. In fact, it is a way that can help you increase the positive effects of those treatments.
Reward Yourself for Successes
The best way to turn one good decision into many more is to reward yourself. You can help yourself achieve your daily goal if you set a specific and reasonable target. For instance, working out for 7 consecutive days, and if you make it then you will give yourself a reward. It can be whatever you want as long as it is not too expensive or it does not add stress to your life.
After achieving your first goal, you can set another one that will be more challenging, like working out for 30 minutes. Set a reward again and make sure to keep your goals specific, short-term and reasonable. Even if you do not succeed, you can always try again.
Share Your Efforts With Someone Else in the Same Boat
One thing that can make depression difficult to beat is that people that have not experienced it, do not understand it. Oftentimes, they think and say to you that you need to snap out of it and pull yourself together. This is not true. This is like saying to someone that has diabetes to snap out of it.
However, what can help is having someone to support you and know what you are going through because they are also going through the same thing. So, if you want to establish a regular exercise routine, find someone that is going through the same.
A lot of communities have support groups. There are also a lot of online resources, you can find active message boards and exercise challenges. You can also find online exercise buddies. This is possible and all it takes is a bit of effort and belief!