Last Thursday was RUOK day and how valuable a reminder was that to keep an eye out for our friends and family. Knowing the stress that running a small business causes was the reason we put out a short video on the topic of depression to coincide with Thursday's event. Importantly, it told us that the RUOK reminder is something we should also apply to ourselves. There can be any number of signs when folk are anxious about the state of their business, such as:
Withdrawing and stopping going out
Feeling overwhelmed, guilty and lacking confidence
Relying on alcohol or sedatives
Just not getting things done!
Increased fitness can lift the mood. More to the point, an exercise regime is a helpful way to block negative thoughts, provide a distraction from daily worries, increase energy levels and, when mixing it with others, make people feel less alone.
Biologically speaking, exercise can increase levels of helpful neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) that may have diminished due to depression and anxiety. It can increase the endorphins which are the 'mood-lifting' chemicals in our brains.
So, where to start?
Rule no. 1 : make it simple;
An hour's circuit training at the gym or 50 laps of the pool may be great for you but it doesn't necessarily have to be that strenuous a workout. If you're not that way inclined, try walking, bike riding, gardening or just commit to a household maintenance routine.
Importantly, do what you find enjoyable (not what others may want you to do!) but, where possible, it's good to include other people and make it a group activity.
Make a workable plan but ensure it has sufficient flexibility so that it does not cause added stress to the distress that you may be already experiencing.
There are a number of websites offering more detailed tips especially if we treat exercise as medicine.