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How To Start a Fitness Journey When You’re Depressed and Out of Shape
Exercise is a huge component of how I manage my mental health. I recently got out of the habit of exercising and had to restart my fitness routine. Here are some things I do when I need to start exercising again. I find that it is always really difficult to get started but after a few weeks I feel awesome and it is much easier to maintain. I have a ton of articles related to depression and anxiety if you’re struggling with mental health be sure to check them out. There is also a whole episode about fitness and mental health on my podcast you can listen to here.
When you’re just starting out just do something, it doesn’t matter how tiny. Do a yoga routine in your bed or go for a stroll around the block. As long as you’re adding a little more exercise or activity to your routine that’s all that matters. You can gradually add more activities or exercise for longer periods of time as you get more fit. The most important thing is to just to get started and not worry about how much you’re doing. Something is always better than nothing.
If you make any kind of progress when you’re getting started to make sure you celebrate. It’s easy to downplay your victories or beat yourself up for not doing more when you’re getting started. You need to train your brain to celebrate your victories. Focus on what you are doing and what you did get done instead of what you didn’t do. Beating yourself up is just going to make your progress more difficult. Starting a fitness journey is hard so celebrate the progress that you make.
Find Something You Like
If you know you hate running or hate going to the gym don’t make these things part of your fitness journey. You want to create a new routine for yourself that you will enjoy doing (or at least not hate). Things I’ve added to my weekly exercise routine include things I enjoy doing like walking my dog around my neighborhood, riding my bike on a nature trail or walking on the beach. Brainstorm some activities you wouldn’t mind doing a few times a week and try them out.
Try Something New
There are so many ways to exercise. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to do something new and fun. I get super stressed going to new gyms or trying new workout classes but I’m always glad when I do it. There are so many options you can try if you’re willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone. There are classes and gyms for everything from kickboxing to pole dancing. It can be uncomfortable trying new things but it’s so worth to find something that you really like doing.
Make a Commitment
Once you find something you like doing try to figure out how you can fit it into your life. If you know you don’t realistically have the time to go to a gym or class after work try a home workout. Put your workouts on your schedule and make a commitment to yourself. If you’re interested in joining a supportive community of women who are using fitness as a tool to transform their life check out my 21 Day Total Transformation Challenge. This is a program that includes a whole library of on-demand workouts, meal plans and a Facebook community for support.
I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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