I wear a lot of hats in my life. Mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, business owner, social media marketer, teacher, homeschooler…the list is seemingly endless. Most days, I manage to navigate the changing of hats without a great deal of hassle. But other days…the days when they all collide? Those are stressful beyond stressful.
After my oldest was born and then again after having my second child, I was depressed. That kind of postpartum depression that aches in your soul and makes life a lot less happy and shiny than the diapers commercials make motherhood appear. Have you been there? It’s a wretched place, isn’t it?
Well, after my youngest was born, I was desperate not to have that happen again. I joined a gym and felt a bit more in control of my stress and anxiety. That is, until I stopped going, because that gym for me? Not a good fit…mainly because I didn’t want to have to fight for a treadmill at 5:30 in the morning. So, the anxiety and stress and depression returned.
I’ve managed to cope with it in many ways since then, but this past week made me realize what’s been the most effective…exercise. Surprise, right? I’ve been off of my routine this week and didn’t feel well enough to get a workout in until yesterday. I even thought about skipping it, because I was in that super stressed, too many deadlines, overworked funk. But I didn’t. Instead, I put in the shortest workout I have PiYo Define: Upper Body and convinced myself to just get it done.
As I started the routine, I realized that something was changing. I felt less stressed. I felt calmer. I felt more in control and less depressed. I felt like I could handle this. For those people who have never felt stressed or felt depressed, I imagine that it’s probably weird to see someone admit that they don’t always feel that way. However, for those of us who get it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Countless studies have been done to examine the effects of exercise on stress and the body. It’s been shown to reduce blood pressure and depression, so it’s no wonder that the more I exercise the better I feel. I’m not a doctor or health care professional in any way, but I do know what works for me.
And I’m going to take a wild, crazy, stab in the dark that it just might work for you too.
Wearing a lot of hats is stressful. Being a mom, being a dad, being a spouse…not to mention all of the other roles you take on in life, those things are hard. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed and depressed, I’d suggest you talk with your doctor, but then get moving too. Take a walk, pop in an exercise DVD, turn on Just Dance with the kids…just do something.
You have to take the time to do it. 30 minutes and you’re done. Schedule it in. It will change the way you handle the rest of your day and the way you cope with the stress that comes along with it. I use “Exercise changes everything” as the tagline for this site, because it’s true. It does. It will change you.
Stop making excuses and do what you need to do to manage your life. Otherwise, you’ll still be Googling “stress and exercise” next year…and the year after that…and the year after that. I believe in you and I truly believe that when you start to exercise it will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine. You – you tired, stressed, depressed, overworked amazing person? You’re worth it.
Your life matters.
Don’t feel like you can go it alone? Need some direction? I’m happy to help! Email me at MamaExercises@gmail.com or follow the Mama Exercises Facebook page for daily encouragement and resources.