Whether depression/anxiety impacts your sleep or not, it is not uncommon to wake up in the morning with very little (or no) will to get out of bed and do not only what is expected of you (like, you know, going to work) let alone to get up and do MORE than what is expected of you – to put your body through its paces.
Despite running and strength training being the biggest relief and escape from a negative mindset, sometimes I can forget just how beneficial it is for me to get moving. Depression particularly is incredibly numbing; the implications of my thoughts rendering my body almost stuck to the spot.
For me, self-doubt often plays a huge role in telling me not to bother. I struggle with the concept of not being a “good enough” runner, or a “strong enough” girl to be squatting/deadlifting and using up valuable squat-rack space at the gym. But, as is plainly obvious, if I had that mentality ALL of the time then I would NEVER get any faster or any stronger. There is very little logic that passes through a depressed mind when it is determined to self-sabotage.
SOMEHOW, I still make it out of bed at 5am, 5 days out of 7. How?
1. I Sleep in my Gym/Running Clothes
HA, the boyfriend doesn’t know this one but when I’m not at his, I often sleep in my sports bra and running leggings. Why? Because that leaves me with very little choice in the morning. In fact, it would be more effort to get changed out of those clothes and into something else than it would to just go (again, little logic involved but it works). In sleeping in comfortable workout-wear I’ve taken away half the battle already by consuming less valuable time getting ready to go.
In addition to this, I make sure everything is lined up in a neat pile ready for me to grab and go. My water, my bag of work clothes, coat, oyster, everything. If I have to spend too much time dawdling getting myself together, chances are I’ll talk myself out of it.
2. “Just One Mile”
When I don’t feel I have the energy to commit to the planned 10k (or even 5k), I try and reason with myself a little. I refer back to the idea that 10 minutes running is better than 0 minutes running, and that I should just do a mile anyway. Well, for me, the first mile is always the hardest and by the time my legs have warmed up I WANT the extra miles.
The same applies to the gym. If I make the whole experience less daunting (e.g. “stick to light weights/low reps today Jess”) then I’m gonna feel less intimidated by the energy required of me. Again, when I reach the gym, I feel proud for having made it there and my drive returns to give the workout 100% anyway.
I cannot stand not knowing where I’m going to be and when, routine is VITAL to my workout-week (and mental wellbeing generally), and without it I probably wouldn’t run or gym at all.
Through planning the week ahead on a Sunday evening I take out the “brain power” involved upon waking, deciding a) where I’m running to, b) what kind of pace I’m aiming for. Having my workouts planned has helped tremendously in taking out the guess work of each workout.
4. Join a Running Group
Shameless plug (and desperation for fellow runners!). In all seriousness, having accountability in a running buddy or workout partner is paramount to getting the work done sometimes. Paranoia that you’re letting down a team of people may actually work to your benefit in this instance… of course you’ll turn up if you said you would, right?
(we meet every Thursday – see the events page for more details)
5. Use the Negative as a Motivator
This, to me is a last port of call, HOWEVER, reminding myself of the shame and guilt I feel through not working out actually works very well in getting my feet into my trainers. Its the classic phrase that we all know “the only workout you’ll regret is the one you didn’t do”. It is very true though. I give myself a really hard time when I miss a workout so I know that however dreadful I feel about getting to the gym, or on the road, I’ll feel even more dreadful if I don’t. Rightly or wrongly, this is the truth and you can use it to your advantage sometimes.
Pop me a message if you have any further tips that you think could be added or if you simply fancy a chat. You can do so here.