Autumn is a difficult time for me, as it is for many people who deal with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression issues that seem to heighten at this time of year. The one thing that helps so much when dealing with mental health issues is exercise.
~You know this.~
~I know this.~
Yet, it’s the most difficult thing for me to stick to on routine. I can go months with unwavering dedication and then swing to doing nothing.
I’ve been battling SAD/depression as best I can this autumn. I always know it’s coming and try to brace myself for the switch to flip. I think I’ve done much better at dealing with it this year, just trying to have a positive outlook. However, I am having difficulties – I have trouble writing, I have trouble studying, I’m easily distracted. Basically, my long-term focus is out the window. I am trying to be patient with myself, but it’s stressful for me to watch useful “productive” time slip away.
In the midst of all this, I keep saying to myself, “Suzanne, exercise will solve all your problems.” With the weather turning cold, walking the dogs becomes intermittent. But on the days we do get out in the fresh air, I notice a huge difference in my mood upon our return. So I know it works. The evidence of the benefits of regular exercise is undeniable.
All of this to say, I took a big leap a couple of weeks ago – I signed up for the on-ramp lessons to learn crossfit…. yep, crossfit!
I arrived for the first class and admitted that I was terrified. I was assured that everyone works at their own level. And here’s what I’ve learned after four sessions:
- Actually, it’s not so hard. Everything is broken down as promised.
- They actually teach the moves step-by-step (way better than just jumping into a class blind and hoping you can follow the leader.)
- I can do this and I’m not nearly as horrible at it as I thought I’d be. Everyone in the class has different strengths and weaknesses.
- I like going. I’ve made connections with others in the on-ramp lessons and look forward to seeing them. Everyone is really good at encouraging each other, the coaches are awesome. People connections are important.
- Crossfit – not so scary, (as I remind myself I’ve only completed class 4 of 10. :D)
- I feel great after! (And only a bit sore the next day.) My focus is still out the window, but my mood is up – I’ll take it.
Part of my philosophy is if autumn is the worst time of year for me with regard to mental health, and I can force myself to do something now, when I really really really just want to hermit-up in the house, then it should be easy to stick with come spring when I’m ready to take on the world. Right?
There’s no such thing as motivation. You have to force yourself.” ~ Mel Robbins.