For a lot of people it is really difficult to motivate themselves enough to join in any form of exercise and when you are feeling anxious, stressed or depressed it can seem like an overwhelming problem. For women going through the change of life it becomes doubly difficult to get motivated as menopause has stolen your energy and motivation and you feel the weight of the world holding you back. You know that getting some exercise will make you feel better, but in a catch-22 situation, your mental health has robbed you of the ability to do anything about it.
The good news is there is a way to get through it!
Start small. Don't set extravagant goals like working out for an hour at the gym every morning, this will only leave you more depressed if you can't complete it (or even start it). Better to set small, achievable goals and build up from there. A short walk can help clear your mind, improve your mood, and boost your energy levels. As you move and start to feel a little better, you’ll often find that you can do a little more than you thought as your energy levels start to increase- maybe you can walk a little further or faster or try adding a weekly fitness class.
Exercise when your energy is highest. Try and exercise when you are feeling at your best. This will give you the greatest advantage to achieve even the smallest of victories. Again, keep it small so you don't get overwhelmed and spoil the good work you have done.
Self talk. Keep your self talk positive. Tell yourself that you feel great and can do whatever you want, whenever you want. I often stop when I'm feeling mentally lethargic and tell myself that it's just menopause (in my case) making me feel this way - I can do it! So the next time you feel like you are not able to move forward stop and say "It's just ........(insert your mental health issue) making me feel like this, it is not in control, I am!"
Remember you are not your mental health - that is just something in your life that you are dealing with, don't let it define you.
Make exercise a social activity. Nothing motivates us more than a friend who is relying on us to go for a walk or head to the gym. Not only will you lift each other up and keep the momentum going but you will have companionship as well. This can be just as important as the actual activity. Don't get me wrong, going it alone is OK too, but sometimes having a good friend along can make the activity even more enjoyable. And it doesn't have to be a human friend - take the dog, your horse, your pet sheep.
Get outside. Nothing is more enjoyable or more energising than getting out in nature. Take a walk around the back yard, go to the beach, hike around the paddock, even walking to the letter box and back is ok. Fresh air and being outside are great ways to be inspired to get moving. Go into the garden and pull a few weeds, pick up some sticks or move the garden furniture around. Before you know it you might find you have been outside for a few hours and you will feel fantastic.
The most important part of this is to relax and enjoy. Get creative and see what you can come up with that is going to be fun and engaging and give you a bit of exercise at the same time.
Let me know how you go!
All photos courtesy of Pixabay
Hi! I'm Janet,