Warning: This post is heavy on opinions, light on actual facts. Proceed.
So, while reading my favorite online news source yesterday, The Daily Mail, there was an article on how one woman beat her long-term depression with Zumba.
I. Love. This. Article.
We health and wellness bloggers talk a lot about intuitive eating and the like, but what about ‘intuitive being’? (I made that up, don’t google it, it’s not a thing. I’ll explain.)
I speak from experience when I say we all go through our ups and downs. Sometimes for longer periods of time than normal and sometimes those lows are lower than they should be. But why? Are our bodies and brains trying to tell us that something is inherently wrong with our lives, and that we need to take action, similar to how we get light-headed, cranky and stomach aches when we’re really hungry and need to eat?
Personally, I think so.
But the answer most doctors will give you is a pill. And if that pill doesn’t work, hey here’s another pill that will help that pill, however now you’re going to need another pill to combat some of the side effects of that pill, including but not limited to, depression. Sooo, here are 2 more pills, 1 pill to take care of the side affects of the 3rd pill and one to take care of the other side effects that result from combining those 4 pills. And wait before you go, here, take one more pill for good luck.
Now, for the record I am NOT anti-pharmaceuticals in any way. In many cases, chemical imbalances should be treated chemically. BUT exercise is a great way to combat that sinking feeling for 2 big reasons:
1. Exercise builds strength and confidence. When you accomplish physical goals, it gives you a sense of control over your life. That new found control gives you the confidence you need to fix all the other parts of your life that need fixing.
And 2. Exercise releases endorphins and pumps the brain full of those feel good chemicals pills try to synthetically recreate.
Unfortunately, when we start to feel down in the dumps what’s the first thing that we tend to drop from our schedules? Yep, our workouts. Let’s try not to do that.
The moral of the story: Find an exercise you love to do and do it often. If you’re struggling with depression, it’s going to be a battle, uncomfortable and not all pleasant no matter what you do. But I think working to overcome it is better in the long run than numbing it. As they say in The Princess Bride: “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
Have you ever been through an especially low period? (Several)
How do you feel about anti-depressants?
How do you pull yourself up when you’re down?