Mental illness—regardless of the kind—affects all aspects of an individual’s life. People living with depression find it extremely hard to perform any activities that will require them to exert effort and energy. Exercise, for starters, is the last thing any depressed person would want to do.
While many studies have revealed that exercise and physical activity in general help people get out of their depressed states, they are futile when people are not in the right mental state to exercise. There are many reasons why depression can prevent a person from working out, and laziness is certainly not one of those.
If you are battling depression and you feel like you are not achieving your fitness goals, do not be so hard on yourself. You have to understand that depression can take a toll on your fitness regimen, too.
You are unable to concentrate
Perhaps one of the biggest barriers of a person with depression is the inability to retain mental focus since it negatively affects a large part of a human being’s cognition and perception. When you are depressed, your mind has a hard time focusing, preventing you from performing well on the task at hand – in your case, your workout routine.
You are low in dopamine
Dopamine is a chemical released by the brain that incites a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm. When you are depressed, your dopamine level is relatively low. This results in loss of motivation, fatigue, poor memory, and inability to concentrate, to name a few. It is important to know that this state is not akin to being “lazy.” A person with depression cannot help but feel unmotivated because his brain is basically sending him signals to not get up and move.
You feel very anxious about how others see you
When you are depressed, you are more susceptible to anxiety than healthy persons are. It’s common to feel extremely anxious about going to the gym or anywhere that exposes yourself to the public. Furthermore, you may also be overly sensitive to the way people look at you, and you may think that other people are saying bad things at your back because of your mental state.
You may feel like you have “weights” all over your body that you cannot move
There are different types of depression, and one of them is atypical depression. You will know that you have this type of depression when your limbs are outrageously heavy to the extent that you cannot make them move. It makes you feel terribly tired that you do not want and cannot get out of your bed. Thus, when you suffer from this type of depression, undoubtedly your fitness goals are bound to suffer.
You feel like starting a workout routine is impossible
For people like you who are struggling with depression, your motivation to exercise is basically nonexistent most times. Starting a new routine may feel like a far-fetched reality, and even tiny tasks become harder as you continue to stay on the depressed state. This is because you tend to shy away from any physical activities and, instead, spend more time being inactive.
The absence of social support
Following a fitness routine can be easy for people who have a “fitness buddy” – someone who works out with them. However, when you have depression, you no longer have that ability to establish the same engaging conversations you used to have with your friends, and you most likely push away the people who care about you. As a result, nobody may be there on your side to support your fitness goals and motivate you to push through. Because you are demotivated, it’s so easy to skip your workout.
There are multiple ways to cope with depression before it can completely thwart your fitness goals or your life as a whole. Don’t be afraid to seek psychological help from counselors and psychologists, such as those from Western Plains Psychology. Professional practitioners can help you get through your depression so you can continue your fitness regimen.