Friday, July 29, 2011

Feeling Down? Pick Yourself Up and Move For Just 5 Minutes

Isn't it interesting how one moment we ( I ) can be feeling on top of the world, confident and happy and then in an instant we ( I ) fall down to feeling hopeless, frustrated and defeated?

And isn't it interesting how easily we ( I ) give other people the power to set us ( me ) on that downward spiral?

And isn't it interesting how all the self care, live your yoga, stay focused techniques we ( I ) teach seem so far out of reach when we ( I ) need them?

I had a private client this afternoon who shared with me her struggles with depression. She admitted to not being in the gym the past two weeks because she just feels so overwhelmed right now it's all she can do to come home from work and wallow on the couch. Things she normally enjoys: walking her dog, exercise, gardening, she hasn't been able to make herself do because it feels like it just takes too much energy.

As we talked she realized the vicious cycle she was allowing to happen. Frustrated with life --> depression --> not take care of herself --> poor food choices --> guilt over those choices --> depression --> frustrated with life.

We decided that the next time she thought she didn't have the energy to get off the couch, she would force herself to do a self care activity for just 5 minutes. After that 5 minutes, if she really still felt down and depressed, she had permission to return to the couch. But if after those 5 minutes she even felt a little bit better, she would continue the activity for another 5 minutes.

Makes sense right? It's an ingenious idea that I know will work.

Damn I'm good.

And then I came home from work and my feel good, I love my life, happy little mood went to hell in just one phone call.

As I hurried to get the kids dinner I was looking at the clock wondering how soon would be too soon to curl up in bed and veg out in front of the TV. And I was not-so-secretly searching the pantry for sugar and carbs.  Thoughts of "why bother" and "it's always the same" were running through my brain.

As usual, after dinner the kids and the dogs were both dancing around for their evening walk. Ugh, I really don't want to. Walking two big dogs and three little kids just seems like entirely too much effort tonight.

Instead, with my own advice still ringing in my ears, I agreed to a walk. But a short walk taking the short route through the neighborhood.

As we set out I realized there had been a small break in the heat wave. I wasn't immediately melting into a puddle of sweat. As we made the first turn, it felt good to get the oxygen and blood flowing. By turn two I was saying come on we might as well take the long route.

And before I knew it me and dog #2 were even jogging.  We'd jog up a bit, then slow to a walk to let older dog #1 and kids to catch up with us.

By the time we got home, yes I was sweaty and out of breath, but I felt just a bit better too. And we had been out for way more than five minutes. I no longer craved curling up under the covers, the sugary carb cravings had passed and even those negative voices had quieted a bit.

Get moving for just 5 minutes even if I don't feel like it.

It's an ingenious idea that I know works.

Damn I'm good - no matter what anyone else does.

1 comment:

  1. you are so cute. and you're right - we are seriously the same person!!! getting up and moving rather than wallow in your pain is a fabulous advice, hard to do, but should be done nonetheless. sometimes we just need to get our bloods flowing to remind us how blessed we are to be alive!