Exercise and self-care

Today, I’m grateful for my health.

I’ve been working on dragging myself back into a fitness routine, and this morning I did just over a mile and a half on the treadmill, along with some of the exercises that I was given by the physio-therapist. The arm hurts, but it will come back. It’s a long term injury I have, and I know I’ve neglected the exercises to help strengthen it for too long.

Life gets busy. Injuries happen. Deadlines add to the stress. Looking after an ill significant other does as well. The demands of life make it entirely too easy to say “not today” when it comes to looking after yourself. All of these things get piled on anyone’s life. Adding the spectre of mental illness to the mix further complicates things.

Self-care is one of the most important things someone dealing with mental illness can do to stay level. It’s also one of the first things to get lost in the demands of today’s “instant” society.

For me, exercise helps lift my mood. The problem is, if I get away from exercise, it gets easier and easier to say, I will work out “tomorrow.” My mood suffers as a result. As my mood falls, it gets harder and harder to motivate myself to get back into it. It’s a pattern I’ve seen in myself many times.

It’s a pattern that I don’t completely understand. After all, if you break a bone, it gets immobilized and allowed to heal. As it heals, physio-therapy is used to get the injury moving again.

Mental illness is no different. When you make time for the things that help you maintain stability, you remain more stable. Your outlook changes. Your mood improves.

Except its hard to break out of old patterns. Even still I sometimes find my mind going down paths unbidden. Minor things can flare my anxiety.

Recovery is work. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s a life long challenge.

The challenge is to learn yourself. Do what you need to do to stay healthy. Don’t let yourself make excuses. Don’t put things off for tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.






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