DISCLOSURE: I am not a mental health professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit Online Therapy to call, message, or video chat a certified therapist online. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I may also receive compensation from Online Therapy or other sources if you purchase products or services through the links provided on this page. You can read my full disclaimer.
Working out with depression might be one of the most difficult quests of life.
Probably the number one piece of advice I hear to “cure” my depression is to exercise.
I hear: “Have you ever tried working out for your depression? Why don’t you try going for a walk?”
But how do you actually work out when you have depression?
How do you find the motivation or productivity when depression keeps fighting against you?
The answer is baby steps and a lot of self-love.
Here are 4 healthy ways to work out when you have depression.
Working Out with Depression
1. UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE
When I’m having a really bad depression day, I could not care less if I take care of myself.
I don’t care about eating my vegetables, brushing my teeth, or even getting out of my bed.
I feel absolutely no hope of me ever getting better, so I don’t even see the point of trying.
But on my good days, I recognize the importance of taking care of my overall health.
I need to power my body in order to power my mind.
The more we recognize how to take care of ourselves on our good days, the more automatic it will seem on our bad days.
I have to feed my body with good sources of energy. I need to fill my body with nutrients every day. I need to get my body moving.
It’s so damn important.
2. START SMALL
When we’re battling depression, even getting out of bed seems like a task we’ll never achieve.
It’s like our bodies are weighed down by bricks, and our minds are filled with a catastrophic thunderstorm that never releases.
But we gotta keep telling ourselves that it’s worth it.
We have to tell ourselves that even if we neglect our depression, we can’t neglect our physical health as well.
We have one body, and we must protect it.
Exercises to try:
- Stretching in bed
- Getting up to get a drink of water every hour
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
What works for me is doing small movements just to get my body moving. The more you get your body moving, the more natural it’ll come.
3. INCORPORATE MORE
After working out comes a bit more naturally for you, try incorporating more physically demanding exercises.
No, you don’t have to run a marathon. Just try more rhythmic exercises.
You don’t have to go out of your way.
Find exercises that don’t require a lot of equipment. Find whatever is convenient.
Exercises to try:
- Walking in the park
- Yoga outside
- Riding your bike around the neighborhood
- 30 day fitness challenge (this one helps me the most!)
Maybe even try finding a workout buddy to build your motivation.
Check out 10 Best At-Home Workout Videos for Beginners for more inspiration!
4. EMBRACE THE JOURNEY
Try looking at working out as something your body is capable of doing, instead of something you have to do.
Exercising doesn’t have to be viewed as a negative experience.
Even when exercise feels like a burden, do it.
The days you feel like doing absolutely nothing are the most important days to get out and do something.
Understand that life is a journey
Life is filled with both good and bad, and recovery is not linear.
You will rise. You will fall.
But you will always rise again.
Choose recovery today by taking the baby steps. The baby steps are the first, most important steps.
How do you work out with depression? Tell me in the comments!
More Workout Posts:
- Why Running Gives Me More Anxiety
- What to Do When Exercising Feels Like a Panic Attack
- 10 Best At-Home Workout Videos for Beginners
Did you know that there is online therapy?
Online Therapy is a complete online therapy toolbox.
Your therapy toolbox includes:
- Live video, voice, or text chat session with your therapist
- 8 easy-to-follow sections, including 25 worksheets
- Activity plan, journal, and tests
- Yoga and meditation videos
What I love about Online Therapy is that there are several life-changing options and therapists available, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home.
This means you never need to worry before getting help.