Many of us have, at some time in our lives, suffered from some form of depression. I was diagnosed with the illness almost two years after the birth of my second daughter. To this day I'm unsure whether or no I was suffering from post natal depression, or just plain old depression, but either way the illness is and incredibly debilitating one. My symptoms were varied. On the physical side it was headaches, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, loss of libido. On the emotional side it was an extremely short temper, confusion, crying,and a general loss of interest in me and a feeling of failing as a mother. The worst thing though was the inextricable fear that I would somehow hurt my kids. Not deliberately, but simply by putting them in danger due
due to my lack of attention span. It was probably a completely irrational fear but it made me feel so insecure that I finally went to seek treatment. My doctor gaveme the standard medical treatment, but also referred me for therapy. It was my therapist who recommended jogging. I must admit that at this time I wasn't and avid jogger. I wasn't unfit by any means though. I had a cross trainer at home which I used regularly, but as the psychologist pointed out, you need to take exercise away from your home environment when you are depressed. Jogging go me out of the house, away from my family and allowed me to take some 'me time'.
At first it wasn't easy. I ran in short twenty minute burst and slowly built it up to forty/forty five minutes. This may not seem like much but it was the first time I was able to get out of the house and away from all my responsibilities to just concentrate on me.
Within a couple of weeks I was already starting to feel better. I looked forward to getting my running shoes on, plugging in my Ipod and just running away the stresses of the day.
Jogging for me has become a therapy. It's a well documented fact that exercise helps to fight depression, and I am testimony to that. When I stop exercising, I start to get low again.
Now, I'm not saying that everybody should do aerobics until they drop, but a nice, steady flow of cardiovascular exercise like walking, jogging, biking, or another form of low impact exercise is an excellent way to manage the symptoms of depression, while also promoting a healthy blood pressure level, a healthy heart, and bodily strength and endurance.
Yoga, forms of slow dance, tai chi, and other meditation-type exercise is also an excellent way to manage stress, anxiety and depression. These types of meditative exercises promote healthy bodily functions, a healthy state of mind, and mental focus, which are key factors in supporting a healthy sense of well being and peace.
Inactivity is one of the biggest perpetuators of depression and anxiety. The human body was designed to be in frequent motion, not to sit all day. So if you find you are inactive for any reason, go, get a drink of water, walk some stairs, or take a little walk outside whenever you get the opportunity. You'll be amazed by what physical activity will do for your mental state.