If I could recommend one thing to anyone struggling with Anxiety and Depression, it would be to exercise.
I remember back when I was first seeing a doctor about how I was feeling, exercise was one of the initial things he brought up that could help. At the time, I shrugged it off. I couldn’t see how walking or running around could do anything for me, but then again I was in a really bad place last year so I shut down anything anyone told me. I saw no way out.
A couple of months ago I decided it was time to give it a go. I pulled my Nikes out of the cupboard, found my Fitbit Charge HR I’d received for Christmas last year and threw on my old black tights and a grey Bonds hoodie. Despite feeling all ready to get started, the hardest part was ahead of me…. leaving the apartment.
I think only those with anxiety would relate to this, but I find it very hard to leave the apartment… my safe space. When I’m in here nothing bad can happen and nobody can get to me. Everything’s peaceful and safe. Holding onto my keys and walking out the front door was the most difficult part of getting started, so my boyfriend said he’d go walking with me to get me started. The first time we went walking, I got 100m from our building and began to panic so I gave up and went home again. The second time though I chose to keep going. I was determined to walk to a particular location and back again. I just had to keep pushing on. Once I completed the whole walk, I felt so accomplished. It only took that one time of us going on that entire walk together for me to realise that yes, I can do this on my own.
I began walking several times a week by myself. It feels so liberating to just get out there into the fresh air, listen to my favourite songs and increase my heart rate. I feel like all my fears and problems and negative thoughts just sweat right out of me, and my favourite part of going for a walk is when I get back. I walk as fast as I can to get the most out of my time exercising (I’m not ready to run just yet), and when I get back to the apartment, completely out of breath, I sit down with a bottle of water and sync my Fitbit to see what I’d just achieved. I feel happy. Happiness comes with exercise. I think it was in Legally Blonde where I first heard that exercise increases endorphins and endorphins make you happy 🙂
For someone like me who thought exercise was the devil, I have been walking 3-4 times a week. I recently bought the crop and leggings above to have some new things to go walking in. I love scrolling through activewear now. Walking makes me feel good, and if you haven’t tried it yet – you have to. Just even walk around the block. You’ll see the difference in your mood straight away.