This post isn’t just for people feeling depressed, this is for anybody who’s looking for ways to get motivated! There are varying degrees of depression but one thing is certain: When you’re depressed or sad, it can be hard to be motivated to do anything. Heck, with life being as demanding as it is a lot of the time, motivation can be hard to come by when everything is going okay! This post is a continuation of Can Exercise Cure Depression? Part 1.
I have found that getting motivated enough to workout gets the ball rolling and I become more motivated and optimistic in other areas of my life. The mind and body connection really is amazing. When everything is “working” together, life can feel pretty amazing too.
11 Unique Ways to Get Motivated if Depressed
First, the more serious side of things:
Deal with Issues That Haven’t Been Resolved
It’s likely that if you’re reading this, you’ve had to go through some challenging times in your life. In order to get through them, we need to work through them. Whether it’s something that happened in your childhood, the passing of a loved one or a serious illness, as humans, we need to go through the grieving process and then move on from it (and NOT be bitter).
I recently started going through Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out and dealing with your issues is exactly what this book is about. You write out all of the defining moments in your life (good and bad) so you can free yourself and focus on your “authentic self” and what’s helped shape you along the way. Don’t expect to solve everything in one day. I would suggest spending a little time each day on this.
Work Diligently to Find Yourself Again
During my experience with depression, I completely lost myself. I forgot who I was, I forgot what I enjoyed doing, I forgot the things I liked, I forgot what made me ME. Take some time to reflect on who you are and what makes you special or what makes you YOU and what makes you HAPPY. Maybe it’s your fun sense of humor, the way you laugh, doing crafts, spending time outdoors or dancing like it’s nobody’s business! You can’t find happiness, you have to create it. Sitting around waiting for it to show up at your door with a smile on its face is not gonna work, though it’d be a hell of a lot easier.
Now, it’s time for a little fun!
Here’s an ongoing list all of the different things I can think of that motivate me. My hope is that you can resonate with these and also that this list will inspire you to come up with a few ideas that are unique to you.
Any kind of dancing motivates me – live performances, movies and TV shows! I don’t know the first thing about dancing (hello, have you watched any of my TurboFire videos?), but I find a tremendous amount of joy in watching others dance. I grew up watching my younger sister’s dance recitals and they were always so amazing! Dancing with the Stars works for me too. The bodies of professional dancers are insanely strong and the way they move is incredible. Watching people dance makes me wanna dance but nobody is EVER gonna see that!
Spring and Summer
I don’t know if it’s because Minnesota goes through like 6 months of winter, but by the time it starts to warm up around here, it’s a miraculous event. Warmer weather always motivates me to get moving. It’s hard on the super humid days, but the hard work is worthwhile when I can see the definition in my arms, shoulders and back while wearing a tank top!
Music a HUGE motivator for me – in all areas of life. I think music saved my life to begin with and it really has the ability to lift your mood and give you strength. Music is powerful – no matter what genre you like. For me, I find that artists like Rob Zombie, Papa Roach, Hollywood Undead, Shinedown and Avril Lavigne motivate me best though there’s definitely a huge range of different kinds of music that I love.
I like this one right now especially:
I love fitness magazines for all kinds of different reasons. The model(s) on the front covers are always inspiring and make me wanna workout. It’s always fun getting the new Oxygen and Muscle and Fitness (His and Hers) in my mailbox. The very first fitness magazine I started reading was Muscle and Fitness!
(Source: Oxygen Magazine June 2012)
Seeing New Summer Clothing in Stores
I have no real fashion sense whatsoever (unless sweats, hoodies and sports bras count?) but I always get excited when I start seeing tank tops, shorts and sandals in stores and online. I used to NEVER wear shorts. It took 2 years of working out before I started wearing them outside – and I just started doing that last summer. I blame this partly on how short a lot of shorts are. I have a bit of a butt and I just cannot do a two-inch inseam. Hooray for running shorts!
I first learned about Gina Carano while watching American Gladiators back in 2008. (Yes, American Gladiators came back for a very short-lived time and yes, I miss it. Again.) Around that time she was featured in Muscle and Fitness Magazine and I learned she was an MMA fighter. I tore out one of the pages of her and taped it to a Cocoa Pebbles cereal box! I still have the pic in my basement:
(you can totally see “Family Size” written at the top of the box.)
After I saw Gina on AG, I seemed to really realize for the first time how women can be beautiful AND strong. That might sound stupid but I don’t know how else to put it. She’s the reason I was excited to start lifting and I’ve loved it ever since. Oh what I’d do to train with her for a day!
Remembering the Things You’ve Accomplished
Once you start living an active, healthy lifestyle, you begin to notice accomplishments – no matter how small or large they might be. You can use these to keep you going and use them as fuel to keep the fire inside burning! It’s not a bad idea to write down all of the accomplishments in your life. Every single one matters.
Give Yourself 5 Minutes
On the days you don’t feel like working out, give yourself 5 minutes. Make a promise to yourself to workout for at least 5 minutes and I’ll bet you’ll go even longer. And any workout is better than no workout. You’ll feel so much better after your workout too – physically and mentally.
“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man.
Sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.” -Vince Lombardi
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” -Anonymous
(I forgot where I got this image, if it’s yours please let me know and I’ll credit you with a link!)
If you are struggling with depression I’ve written a book called Crawling out of Darkness that shares 12 strategies you can use (starting today) to work through your depression and start living a happier, more fulfilling life. You can check it out here.
I admire your courage to be gutsy enough to talk about your bout with clinical depression. Men also experience depression for a variety of reasons, but usually compound the problem with alcohol and isolation, and often times suicide. I was diagnosed with clinical depression for years and finally there was a medical doctor that found and cured what the psychiatrists were unable to treat with therapy and psychopharmaceuticals. A chemical imbalance that was causing a hormonal imbalance. The two combined were causing major depression. Once that started getting treated, the depression was lifted and I started living life again. Thanks for talking about a subject most people avoid because they don’t understand it and discussing it makes them very uncomfortable.
Sarah Hagelin says
Amazing blog post Mindi! One of the best ones I have read so far! It really is the truth that exercise can have a positive impact not only on your body, but your mind as well. I have never felt more confident than I do now. It is awesome. :)
Melinda F says
Hi Marc, thanks for your nice comment. It’s been a big part of my life (up to this point; or about 1/3 of my life so far) and I know millions suffer – whether they’re talking about it openly or not. I feel like everyone deserves to feel great about life – despite the setbacks and challenges. We all have bad days and horrible experiences throughout our lives but it’s up to each of us to overcome the bad and focus on the positive. Whether that means doing it alone, with the help of friends and family and/or a therapist, with or without meds! Meds got me started, exercise keeps me going. :)
Melinda F says
Thank you! <3
Kelly Turner Fitness says
Seeing other people’s workouts on social networking sites really pushes me to do one too, even if i don’t feel like it. I find myself saying “They aren’t any better than me…I can get a workout in too” Is that reverse motivation? Negative motivation? Whatever works!
Lovely article, it’s really nice to hear about your personal life and past struggles… I can totally related and I’m sure that I am not alone. Exercise and clean foods can really turn your life around. I have a condition myself, and I was always prescribed some pills to numb the pain, I never understood the logic behing numbing the pain… I mean our bodies is telling us that something is going wrong and then we just put more “junk” in our system. I have healed myself with exercise and plenty of fresh organic produce. I can’t belive that no doctor ever asked me what I ate and if I was active… I mean, we are what we eat after all…
Anyhow, thanks for sharing!
Melinda F says
It’s great motivation! Yes, whatever works! ;)
Betsy Schow says
I too spent my life being clinically depressed. Drugs never really solved the problem. It just made me numb. I had to confront my demons and demons and feelings of failure. What helped me was exercising, running in particular. And most of all, learning to finish what I start. Each time I finished something, I built up a little mountain of self worth in the back of my brain that kept growing. Now I’ve lost 75 pounds run marathons and gone off anti depressants forever. Find your finish, find your motivation
So many of these are great. I can’t imagine what a mess I would be if we had 6 months of winter. Working diligently on yourself is so important. It’s easy to get sucked into all the roles we have that are defined by others. We must make the time to define our own role in our life too. Losing self is so painful. And I love the quotes you listed.
Melinda F says
Thanks Jennifer :)
Melinda F says
Find your finish, find your motivation. <---I love that! I can relate to feeling numb too. Keep up the great work!
I love your blog posts Mindiloo =) You know what motivates me?? You!! These blog posts and hearing your stories about how far you’ve come, it’s so inspiring. I feel like I can relate to you a lot and seeing that you’ve pushed yourself so far gives me so much hope and makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. Thank you so much for these posts!!
Melinda F says
Thank you Lisa <3 I heart you tons!! I really love CE because Chalene is constantly telling us to push ourselves with weight and it really pushes me to lift heavier. I need a kick in the butt like that to remind me to keep pushing. I wonder how many more times I can say "push"?? !!!
Nick K says
I love your blog, however as a male I found the pink text when making my comment a little funny lol ;). Motivation is a big part of working out, and one of the most important tools someone can have. I love the light switch, it’s so true. In fact it’s the darkness that allows us to appreciate the light. You should check out my blog http://www.fitnessofthegods.com. I’ll for sure keep checking out your blog, even though it’s geared towards females fitness is relative.
Melinda F says
Lol! I didn’t try to do that. Thanks for reminding me to look into it. I’d prefer it to be black, actually. ;) I’ll take a peek at your blog, thanks for sharing.
Mary Lissa says
Nice Information .
Exercise and clean foods can really turn your life around. I have a condition myself, and I was always prescribed some pills to numb the pain, I never understood the logic behind numbing the pain
I think some antidepressants do work for some people but it’s definitely not a guarantee. Better life choices can make a huge difference. Can’t hurt!