Saturday, September 25, 2010

Exercise and Anxiety

I've got to tell you, I've been really noticing the positive effects of exercise on my mood and energy level these past few months. I'm not knocking yoga or a good power walk, but it's the days where I get some good cardio in and really sweat that seem to make the biggest difference. This is not new information in the world of anxiety and health, but it's interesting how difficult it is to prioritize self care.

Between taking care of three children and getting a second wind around 10pm, I can find lots of reasons to turn my alarm off at 6am. Frequently my husband and I will say to each other, "Ok, this is the week we're going to bed by 10:30pm and getting up early!" Signing up for a couple triathlons this summer certainly helped get me up in the morning, but my motivation can dwindle when race season is complete and daylight grows shorter. When I'm tired and not exercising, the world seems more overwhelming and my wheels spin.

This week, I've made a new pact with my husband to go to bed by 11pm-ish and I've gotten up the past five mornings to exercise. Depending on how much time I have, I'm doing a mix of running a faster 2-3 miles (a 10 minute mile is speedy for me); a favorite 20 minute video; swimming; and biking with a friend on the weekends. Even a little dance break in the day can help my body and brain play nice.

What's changed? I had to sit myself down during the daytime hours and say, "Look, girl, this is good for you & it makes you feel so much better! You are not going to find time to exercise after 7am. Now get your butt to bed! Whatever still needs doing can wait until tomorrow!" Again, while exercise and enough sleep does not make anxiety go away for me, it helps make it more manageable by using up some of that super-power adrenaline and starting each day with a more rested brain.

Will I be singing a different tune, next week? Perhaps, but accountability is a good motivator, too! What effect does enough sleep and exercise have on your mental health and outlook? What's working for you?


Paul said...

Hi there,

I wanted to know if you’d be interested in a few guest posts from me. I’d be happy to write original, and useful, articles for you every now and then.

If you’d like to, we can exchange blog posts which would cool too, but it’s also not anything I’m hung up on.

Just let me know if you’re interested, so I can send something your way within a few days. Thanks for taking the time to consider my request.

And sorry I had to send this request through comments, but I didn't a contact page. Thanks again.


mandghall said...

Kris- totally agree with this one. Nothing like some sweat and dirt to get a body going and mind and heart set right. Are you doing the jllian michaels' video? Cause that's impressive- keep it up lady, if nothing else than to enjoy the fall colors and changing seasons and get the heart a pumping in a good way.

andrea said...

Hi...really enjoying your blog. I came across it rather randomly and I have to say how nice it is to know I am not the only one that hates driving on the freeway! I am so over this and plan to overcome! look forward to checking in with you as you also take charge.

Anxiety Girl said...

Hey Paul -- thanks for the offer -- I'll email you via your contact page (and it's a good reminder that I need to add that option). Talk to you soon!

Hi Maggie! How're you doing, girl? Hope your pregnancy is continuing to go smoothly! Yes, I've been doing Jillian's "30 Day Shred" dvd & it's great. Steve does it too and we have a lot of laughs over her tough girl style. Great workout, though! Hope to see you soon. :)

Welcome Andrea! So nice "meet" you and I noticed you're starting a blog as well. That's great! I hope you come back soon & let us know how the driving is going. Have you checked out "Don't Panic" by Reid Wilson? He's got a great section on how to do exposure work and build up your practices. Take care!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog when I googled coping cards for my MSW midterm in Practice and theory... My anxiety is high as a kite right now... I enjoyed your blog and became an instant follower the minute I saw you have an MSW ( and you Keep posting.. you never know I just might need insperation to get through the next semester..

Laura Elliott said...

Exercise plays a big part in my overall anxiety management. A few months back I joined the gym again and so far so good. I found a gym that felt right for me and I'm being realistic about what I can fit in to my life. For me 3 times a week is about right and I do a mix of things - a yoga class, a pump class, cycling and I also play netball once a week. I have noticed that my anxiety is much less during the weeks that I stick with this routine.

Good luck with your exercise plan!

Anxiety Girl said...

Welcome "Chick in the Chair" -- You're not only going to survive your MSW education, you're going to have such good memories when it's all done. I remember it being hard work, but I met such amazing people during that time and really grew during my field placements. I saw on your blog that you didn't have such a great day in the field, so I hope tomorrow's better!

Hi Laura,

So nice to see you again! Sounds like you've been really consistent with your exercise & that it's helping a bunch. I find it harder to stay motivated as it gets cold, but the payoff of feeling some of the anxiety come off is worth it. Is it warming up in Australia?