how to exercise when you're depressed unhappy or anxious

by monica

This post is incredibly personal and somewhat sad but I'm sharing this with you in the hopes that it may help even one person who is going through a hard time right now...

Life can get really challenging sometimes and can derail even the most consistent healthy eater and exerciser regardless of how strong you are mentally physically and emotionally.

Other than 3 specific times in my life when I completely stopped with healthy habits I've been exercising daily for 30 years (since age 14). To me exercise is just essential for daily living.

But this past week was the fourth time in my life that I had several days in a row of not so healthy eating and no exercise because watching my mother die on Wednesday took every ounce of energy and joy out of me.

My mom had been battling pulmonary fibrosis (an immune system disease) for 11 years - mentioned in previous blog post when I first started this site- but even though I watched her deteriorate over the years as she struggled to stay alive longer than her 6-8 year prognosis nothing could have prepared me for what I had to witness last Wed.

It was incredibly heartbreaking to see her struggle on her deathbed weighing less than 90 pounds and gasping to take her last breaths.

My sister and I had talked about what we might feel after this happened and we both agreed that sadness and some level of relief for the end of her suffering would be among those feelings but neither of us expected to feel anxiety and deep depression which as you can imagine makes healthy choices and exercising incredibly difficult.

But instead of fighting those feeling I decided to surrender to my feelings without judgement. This is advice that I learned from Eckhart Tolle featured in the outstanding video here about the power of acceptance and being present.

The result of following Tolle's advice is being able to overcome the heaviness of the depression that I felt was beginning to take over me and I was able to get back to more positive thoughts/behaviors more quickly than I had during past struggles.

So even though I'm still feeling sadness and have not been able to train at the same intensity of the fatloss circuit I posted on fb recently, I was able to exercise again on Saturday at a moderate intensity, eat slightly healthier than I had been and focus on the good memories I have of my mom (pictured above with me when I was about 3).

So my tip today is very simple. If you're depressed sad or anxious don't be afraid to accept and feel those emotions. Be present with those emotions without judgement and you will find that any sorrow you are experiencing in your life will minimize or dissipate much faster when you don't try to fight it. The negativity will diminish sooner vs. later when you stop resisting which makes it easier to handle any hardship you are experiencing.

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