It is widely known that there is some correlation between diet, exercise and depression. But how does this look day-to-day? At the beginning of the summer I made myself a challenge: to commit to being healthier in order to see how that influences my depression. I read many studies about how sugar affects depression, so I did something radical. I cut all added sugar out of my diet. That included everything from cookies to bread. I also read about the positive effects of running, but due to a long-standing injury, I cannot run. So, I consulted a personal trainer and decided to begin weightlifting instead.
It was admittedly hard at first to commit to such lifestyle changes. But I stuck it out, and I am so happy I did, because after a few weeks I felt the positive effects I was hoping for. My sleep improved, I felt more energetic and I could tell my arms were getting stronger; seeing these results gave me a purpose and motivated me to continue. I came to love weightlifting and found it to be the physical activity my body had been craving. Going to the gym gave me time alone, away from my thoughts. I could even tell a difference in my mood and sleep on days that I broke this routine.
Now I wasn’t perfect about these rules I made for myself, and of course I let myself have Rita’s every so often. It would also be crazy for me to say that these changes cured me or allowed me to go off my medicine. But it was definitely worth trying. And I think I am going to keep it up for the long-run.
I believe that it is important for each person to find some combination of healthy eating and exercise that works for their needs and abilities. It doesn’t have to be such a radical change, but you may feel a difference with even that smallest change. There really is no downside to trying it.