My Dance with Depression and What I Have Learnt

Pt. 5. My Dance with Depression and What I Have Learnt

My Dance with Depression and What I Have Learnt

Depression can be a killer. For those who daily face the darkness, they need help.

In this series, I share a few dance steps I have learned.

9. Do Something!

You may not feel like doing anything. Don’t trust your feelings; they are not a reliable guide. Your ‘stinky thinky’ might be whispering lies such as ‘what’s the point,’ ‘I fail at everything,’ ‘who cares anyway’.

Sometimes you need to tell your feelings to ‘SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP.’

I believe that the setting and achieving of goals, even super small ones like brushing your teeth, are crucial to mental wellness. We were made in the image of God who just loved to create and do things. Imagine the fun they had making this world! He delights in work and calls us to be active.

One of the features I have discovered in my dance is that when I have no goal or a sense of purpose it’s then that ‘stinky thinky’ knocks on the door.

It’s always important to have a plan and a purpose.

Now you can take it too far and do too much. The key is to have some goals that are important to you because you are valuable, you are worth it.

When you are facing your day, do what you can do, something that is achievable. Beware of the ‘should do’s’, ‘must do’s’, and ‘ought to do’s’. Instead, focus on the ‘Can do’s’.

And stop ‘shouding’ on yourself!

Do you have goals for your week or day? Are they achievable?

10. Exercise

One of the key activities is to keep active, to exercise. This doesn’t mean having to join a gym, do a million press-ups, etc. For me, it meant walking. Others swim or run, for me it was as simple as taking the dog for a walk.

When I was most depressed, I would take the dog for walks around the block every day, taking about an hour and a half to complete.

It gave me a point of focus each day, something I could achieve. It got me outside into the sunlight. My body achieved some tiredness, so I was able to sleep better.

Exercise also causes some lovely hormones called endorphins to be naturally released
. Endorphins are the bodies natural painkiller and can trigger very positive feelings.

To overcome the barrier of ‘I hate exercise,’ follow these tips.

  1. KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid. The more complex you make the exercise task, the less your likely to do it on a tough day. Keep it simple and achievable.
  2. Do it with someone else. For me, it was the dog. He would come to me each day when it was ‘Walkies’ time and look at me, begging me, to grab the leash and make the first step. For others, it might be a friend or neighbor or even a walking group. You might be the person to help someone else too!
  3. Be Gentle on Yourself. Don’t over exercise, start small (and I don’t mean walking to the bathroom). Your not training for the New York Marathon, yet.
  4. Make it Enjoyable. I don’t enjoy exercise, but exercise is important, so I had to find ways to make it enjoyable, or I simply would give up too soon. For me, it was to listen to some music and podcasts in my mp3 player.
  5. Have a tangible goal. On a shorter walking route I use sometimes, it is a signpost. It is a turning point that I have to physically walk around to return home. I won’t have achieved my goal unless I have physically walked around that signpost.

How can you build exercise into your weekly/ daily plans?

In this series, I have shared a few ideas that have helped me. Just like a dance there are many steps, and many others to be learned. There isn’t just one ‘cure all’ solution, but more a combination of many ideas.

So, have you found this series helpful? Leave a comment below and share this blog with others.
Barry Pearman
Image: Flicker Creative Commons

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part four

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