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Topic: Tips for motivating to exercise when in a depression/anxiety spiral

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. greatoutdoors123
    greatoutdoors123 avatar
    11 posts
    28 October 2020

    Hi All,

    I have recently been to my GP about my depression/anxiety. We are finding a psych for me to see (a very long wait!!) and I am happy to be getting the help I need. it is sometimes very hard to live in my own head! I talk to myself in a very negative way and become anxious very easily. This week has been hard. I have a stressful job, and i find it hard to 'log off' at the end of the day. Work is a trigger for me due to a bad old work place.

    I exercise most days - running in the morning and once a week or so pilates. my gp told me that often exercise is as good as an anti-depressant - its just getting the motivation to do it.

    My question is: when you are having those times when the bad feelings take over, how do you motivate yourself to actually get out and go for a run? I usually run first thing in the morning as most of the time nothing has happened that day to trigger me and so I am fine to go run for an hour and be 'in my head'. If I am feeling particularly anxious or depressed - the last place I want to be is in my head!! So i tend to not do anything at all - which doesn't make me feel good.

    So: does anyone have any tips to get out of that? For example, maybe instead of a run do you do 50 squats and see if that starts the endorphins? or do you give yourself permission to rest?

    Sorry if this question is a bit all over the shop - just thought I'd see if anyone had any self help practical tips.

    Hope everyone is having a good day. x

    2 people found this helpful
  2. mocha delight
    mocha delight  avatar
    418 posts
    29 October 2020 in reply to greatoutdoors123
    Hi greatoutdoors123 I actually find if I do more then 10 minutes on the treadmill I find it does the complete opposite for me then what exercise does for you or is supposed to do unfortunately.
    1 person found this helpful
  3. Step Twelve
    Step Twelve avatar
    33 posts
    30 October 2020 in reply to greatoutdoors123


    Firstly it's great that you exercise most days and already have a good exercise routine going!

    I find it so frustrating that all the activites that improve mental health are exactly the things we don't feel like doing while we're feeling down or anxious. It sucks, but I have a few mental tricks that can often get me moving when I'd really rather just take a nap. Maybe they can help you.

    * I try to form daily habits so that I can exercise without thinking (thinking leads to procrastinating)
    * I plan some kind of 'reward' for myself after exercising, which helps to embed the habit
    * If I'm thinking too much, I take my headphones and listen to audio books
    * If it's too hot/cold/wet outside I hit the treadmill at the gym
    * I find a movie or series on Netflix that I want to watch and I only watch it on my phone while on the treadmill
    * Sometimes I bargain myself down to just a walk (since it's better than no exercise at all)

    Most importantly, never beat yourself up about resting or skipping exercise. It's just not helpful and makes everything worse.
    If you do it that's awesome, but if you don't there's always tomorrow.

    Best of luck. Exercise really does help a lot, so I hope you can continue getting the benefits.


    1 person found this helpful
  4. Gambit87
    Gambit87 avatar
    535 posts
    30 October 2020 in reply to greatoutdoors123

    Work is a trigger for me too, but with the help of my psychologist I have accepted where I work isnt entirely that bad and my anxiety around work has almost disappeared.

    When I loose motivation, I forgive myself (really important) and just go back to basics.

    It can just walking around the block, or to the park or walking to get a coffee. Just getting out in the fresh air really helps clears the mind and for me, kick starts the motivation because it makes me remember how much I like getting out and about. Then I get on my bike and go for a long bike ride.

    Learning to reframe your thoughts (easier said then done, I know) really helps with motivation (as well as depression and anxiety).

    all the best! you got this.

    2 people found this helpful

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