Since I started counselling last year, my therapist and doctor have been admonishing me to start exercising. They both believe that exercise plays a huge role in the treatment of people with depression/anxiety. The evidence in support of this is pretty overwhelming, so who am I to argue?
However, getting active is something I struggle with. I have, like most people, a lot of demands on my time. Particularly on the days I work, when I’m up at 5.45 and usually by the time I’ve finished running around after the kids, preparing dinner, getting kids to bed and getting stuff ready for the next day, it’s 9.30 or 10 o’clock at night. I have no intentons of trying to squeeze some kind of workout into those days.
Still, there are the days I don’t work. But although some evenings I may have had the idle thought that I should go for a walk/do a workout/hop on the statonery bike/move my body in some way the next day, by the morning my motivation will have waned, and I can come up with a hundred other priorities that need to be done first. So the exercise just never gets done.
I’ve been reading upon how to get unstuck, however. Because, as I see it, that’s where I am. I’ve reached this crossroads in my life, with no idea of where to go next. At some point I will choose a path, but for now I need to just sit with it for a while. I have plans to strip back my life to the bare essentials. I’m on a committee which has increasingly become a chore that I no longer enjoy. I had told them that I would be prepared to stay on for another year, but not after that. Fortunately our major activity winds down after July and my obligation to them also winds down. Our AGM is next week and I will let them know uncategorically during the elections that I am happy to step aside now, but if not I will not be standing next year. My other obligation is the musical production I’m currently in. I had auditioned for this in November last year, thinking that it would be a good way to get out of the house and do something creative. But I’m not enjoying it. It doesn’t give me the buzz I once enjoyed.
So I will be removing these two obligations from my life in the coming months, and I think that will help to give me the headspace that I need to contemplate any major decisions. And it will give me the time to be able to perhaps try some volunteer work in any fields I might be considering, which I think is going to be critical. Not just so I can see if I like this or that kind of work, but it will also give me contacts in the industries I might be considering.
One of the pieces of advice I read for helping yourself get unstuck was to shake up your routine. Do something different. So I did. Well, nothing groundbreaking, but different to what I normally would do.
Yesterday, I took a walk. I put on my runners, walked my daughter to school, and instead of coming home and doing the housework, I headed up the road. I live in a no-through suburb and there’s one major road that goes through it, does a loop at the end and you come back down again; it’s about a 6km walk. So off I went. There’s no shortcuts back so I was committed to the 6km walk on a beautiful early autumn morning. I just let my thoughts run wild and enjoyed the sun and the sights of my neighbourhood. My plan is to do this walk on every non-work day.
So here I am, killing two birds with one stone; my mental health and my stuckness.