This question came from the subreddit, Exercise Out Of Depression. It was posed the the subreddit in general and this was my response.
Question: Dear Reddit!
I’d realy like to hear from people who are familiar with excersise as means of fighting bad moods. What are your other ways of staying sane? Keeping away from crying? Some social activities, maybe, charity, knitting classis idk?
I lift, and I swim or run 6 days a week, and the psychological effects are tremendous. But they only last for like 2-3 hours, after that I’m back to anxiety and tears. No depression or other medical issues, I checked. Just normal reaction to a tough life situation.
I’m right there with @amsterdamcyclone on this. Incremental changes are the way and I would emphasize or add the following:
Drink decaf or stop drinking coffee. Caffeine was clearly a source of addiction for me and a key contributor to my anxieties. When I decreased the cups of coffee down from 3 to 2, I felt less anxious. 2 to 1, less anxious than that. 1 to 1/2, less anxious. You see where I’m going here.
Wake up early. Really early. Like 5 or 6 am early.
First thing upon waking, I bust out some air squats, pushups, and pullups. I have one of those door pullup bars. I do what I can with what I have. At first, it sucks and once I’m done, it feels great. I try and bust this out periodically throughout the day, along with my hour or two at the gym. At the end of the day, theres this good sense of exhaustion. The analogy I like to use is thinking of my self as a rambunctious puppy, needing to play to get his energy out so he doesn’t pee all over the carpet and terrorize the furniture while my family is away. It may seem ridiculous but we are all animals in the end ;). Just like a puppy at the end of the day, falling asleep becomes much easier 😉
Do something challenging, creative, and fun for my brain. I enjoy playing with photoshop or recording a podcast or writing up a blog post or mocking up a website. If I’m stuck or in a rut, I find or look into a note that I store all of these different creative ideas that I would like to replicate in Photoshop. I then find a tutorial on how to recreate it. It is stimulating and fun and I learn a new skill in the process that I can provide for someone, maybe even a paying client.
No alcohol or drugs. Not saying you do but I did and sometimes, I still fall into it and it always fucks with my sleep.
Meditate everyday. 5 minutes at first is plenty. When compounded over time, it’s very powerful. I recommend the ‘Waking Up’ app by Sam Harriss. It builds up daily and is approachable for beginners.
Socialize. Socialize. Socialize. Isolation is depression and anxieties best friend. Feel anxious around others? Start small. Hang with a friend.
Start your day by being grateful for what you currently have. All of it. Think about it. Smile about it. Maybe even call or tell someone to their face how much you appreciate them. Didn’t do it this morning? Start now. You can always be grateful. I’ll start us off: I’m grateful for you for being vulnerable on here so I can dig deeper into myself and provide some insight into experience that may help you. It’s a gift to be able to learn from each other. Thank you.
You can find the original thread here.
What are the ways you keep sane? or at least try ;)?