Tuesday, May 5, 2015

dealing with depression and anxiety [part 2]

Continued from a post I wrote last week...

I've long since known that the best way to manage my depression and anxiety is through exercise.

When I exercise I get enough sleep. I feel good about myself and all other areas of my life have more meaning. I'm more patient with my children, I work harder at work, I work harder at home. I'm not lazy and lethargic. I pay more attention to what I eat and when I eat it. I socialize more when I run. I actually want to bathe and put on decent clothes instead of just sweats. Some of these are crazy sounding, I know. I wrote about a lot of these things when I talked about why I encourage my children to run.

As I've been working my way out of the funk that I described a few days ago I started making little lists of what I could do to help. I mentioned that I knew what needed to be done but I just didn't know how to start the climb.  Apparently, I just had to think about it for a few days and then just decide to start.

One of the things I kept thinking about over and over again was running.

For comparison's sake, the numbers below represent my running miles for the last 9 months beside of a number representing my depression and anxiety level on a scale of 1 (virtually none) to 10 (through the roof level).

And because I'm a nerd I decided to graph the data to see the real correlation.

You can see that there's a clear relationship between the ups and the downs in my mileage per month and my level of anxiety and depression.

Not surprisingly, my weight also has a direct correlation with this information. Naturally, my weight is highest when I'm depressed and not running. My weight is lowest when I care about what I put into my body and when I'm taking care of it with exercise, good sleep and nutrition.

This is Why I Run.

My weight is at the highest it's been in a couple of years. (I looked. July of 2012 was the last time I weighed this much and though I weighed ten pounds more than that just a couple of months before that, I refuse to put those ten pounds back on.)

It is not fun to dislike your body and it is not fun to feel anxious about everything, sensitive, and sad all the time.

I've started tracking my runs and including notes about weight and nutrition, not just times and distances.

Just like with dieting and tracking what you eat, I'm finding that simply by being intentional and taking note of this information I'm becoming more aware of it and it's helping me make better choices.

I'm sure if I listed them all out there would literally be a hundred reasons why I run. (I will save this post for another day because I don't want it to take away from the purpose of this series and Mental Health Awareness month.)

For now, I'm running for mental health. I'm running to manage my anxiety and depression. I'm running to deal with life.

Why do you run? What other ways do you cope with emotions? 

To be continued...

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