Exercise – the best medicine

‘Exercise is the most potent and underutilised antidepressant, and it’s free….’

Someone I follow on Instagram posted this caption this morning and it really struck a chord with me as it is something I passionately believe in – exercise is the best form of medicine, the best stress reliever, the best mood lifter. I just wish more people realised it, or thought about it in that way.

I’m not saying you have to go all out and do a 10 km run every time you feel low, but even just jumping around for 10 minutes or dancing to some music can really make a difference. It gets the endorphins going and makes you feel a whole lot better.

I went for a run this morning, and I felt so much happier and ready for the day not only afterwards, but whilst I was out. It did help that it was a beautiful autumnal morning and I was running in the woods and along the canal (and stopped to capture some moments – see pic), but the mere feeling of being out and pushing my body a bit just made me feel happy. img_0212I get this burst of happiness inside when I am outdoors, and I can see the beauty of the world. I know I will feel like this when I am out, which makes it easier to talk myself into getting out! I was able to think things through that were bothering me and realise how insignificant they were (I had a moment yesterday when I stressed about something really silly), and I was able to make plans.

Taking the time out for yourself is so important, but we all tend to neglect ourselves over others or tasks when the going gets tough, or find an excuse not to go out for that walk/run/gym class. I’ve seen so many people suffer from stress or just let daily life get on top of them, and in doing so they’ve forgotten to look out for number 1 – themselves. A trip to the doctor in extreme cases can result in antidepressants being prescribed, and whilst I know these are necessary in certain cases, I wish people would try and incorporate more exercise into their lives first. This is especially true for those who suffer from long term depressive episodes, and I have seen friends reap the benefit of exercise in these situations. Don’t let excuses get in the way either – find someone to sit with the kids for 20 minutes, or take them with you; tag team with your other half so you can both get out; or just put it in your diary as a proper activity so you stick to it.

I love the feeling of being outdoors and feeling good about myself and am on a mission to help others see how just a little bit of exercise can help them!

Go on, give it a go, it might even make you happy 🙂

 

 

Reflection – you need time and space

I’m currently having some time out from work. This is the first time in nearly 20 years that I have taken more than 2 weeks at a time off, and properly switched off from work, and it has been a real eye and mind-opener for me.

I’m sure many women (and men) go through this when they have babies, or take time out to raise their families, but I have been amazed at how time and space away from the daily stresses and strains of work has opened my mind and calmed me. Despite the pressure of an instant family and adjusting to a new role in my personal life (which I am loving by the way!), I have never felt so open to life and the opportunities it can bring. I’ve realised that this has come about because I have allowed myself the time and space to consider options. My husband has noticed too as we have had lots of deep conversations about the future and our joint goals and dreams.

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pic: Grasmere in the Lake District on a trip in Nov 2015

Even though I told myself ‘work is not everything’ when I was working,  I gave it my all and immersed myself in it, stressing about things that really seem trivial now. Being away from it all I can see that there is more to life (I know it is a cliche!), and I can feel myself chilling out and being more relaxed about certain things. One thing I will always be concerned about though is finance, and that means I will need to return to work at some point, but hopefully I will do so in a much better frame of mind and with a more relaxed approach to things.

I’ve realised that in order to reflect on important decisions, and really see what options are available, you need to give yourself proper time and space away from the daily stress. not an easy thing to do when you are caught up, but I am going to give it my best shot – I’m loving this new found approach to life!