Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Depression Versus Exercise: We Have a Winner!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Soaking up the sunset. Delicious."]78/365[/caption]

There are many things that I love about living in Montana -- the many trails available within a 10 minute drive of every part of the city, the focus on being outdoors in all weather (really, I swear that's a bonus), and of course the gorgeous mountains which still blow this former Jersey girl's mind.  But one thing I don't love so much is the aversion the Montana seasons seem to have to change.

Take this year, for example.  Spring has been s l o w in coming.  While I saw that distant Facebook friends were enjoying seemingly endless blue skies and sunshine, we were enduring a long and dreary April.  But then all that seemed to change in the past few weeks, and the glorious Montana spring finally arrived . . .

. . .  or did it?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="233" caption="My sunburn. Ow."]84/365[/caption]

Last week I busted out my shorts and tanks tops and flip flops, mowed the lawn for the first time this year, and potted a bunch of seeds and plants in an attempt to cultivate my green thumb.  I sat outside and read, enjoying the long-missed warmth of the sun so much that I didn't realize I was getting my first sunburn of the season (it was worth it! but I'll use sunscreen next time . . .).  I let all the windows of our house stay open day and night to let the delicious air in.  It was glorious.

This week I shut the windows.  I donned a sweater and warm pants once again (although I have resisted wearing socks again -- I'm holding out hope).  Even the dogs want to stay inside, because it's cold and raining, and it looks like it will be all week.  While I know that we need the rain, I want sun!  I want spring and then summer.  I want warmth!  One day we'll finally have regular balmy weather.  Right?  Right??

Once again it's been interesting to observe how my mood changes with the weather's fluctuations.  During the warm, sunny weather I was very up, all action and positivity, while this week I just want to snuggle under the covers with a book and some tea until the rain goes away.  But as snuggling and reading and sipping tea won't really help me feel better long term, I've been mustering up the energy for a daily workout.

Remember my post on depression-busting exercise?  My hope was that regularly moderate exercise would help regulate my moods.  Well, having coaxed, coddled, and otherwise frog-marched myself into regular workouts, I can say that it works.  Exercise really does bust through depression.  I find this amazing, and so reassuring.  When medication doesn't work, or if I don't want to throw miscellaneous chemicals that might help into my body, it's so encouraging that something as simple and accessible and (most importantly, for me) natural can be just as effective in regulating depression.

If you're interested in learning more about the effects of exercise on depression, I once again want to recommend -- Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise by Keith Johnsgard.

It is an excellent resource, and also a very engaging read.  Johnsgard presents oodles of facts from medical journals and similar academic publications without making the reading dry or tedious.

So while I wait for the return of the sun -- please please please let it be soon! -- I will keep on exercising (reasonably) so that I can keep on living (fully).  And right now that means continuing to work on artistic things, as well as a super duper secret writing project that I am SO EXCITED to tell you more about soon.  Let me just leave you with this tantalizing tidbit -- I finished a first not-so-rough draft in less than two weeks, am working on turning it into a second, cleaner draft, and hope to be sending it off for publication before too long.  Wowza!  I've never had a writing project go so beautifully.  It's truly been a gift.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Making art is also a gift!"]Forever Friends[/caption]

What has got you up or down or creative or cuddling under the covers?  What's the weather like near you?  I'll try not to be jealous if it's all sun all the time . . . ;)



  1. YAY! That's awesome to hear about the writing. The offer for editing still stands, even with other non-novel projects.

    I've noticed my own attitudinal changes, as the mornings are sunny and lovely and the evenings have been stormy. It's interesting to obseve, note, and try to mitigate.

    Sending hugs,


  2. Thank you, Steph! I might take you up on that offer . . .

    Which reminds me that I still have an email to send you!

  3. I, too, am eagerly awaiting the sun's arrival! Though I've seen the sun come and go (like a half-remembered dream) I honestly don't remember a single day without rain in the last 2 months *sigh* *feeling wilty* Anyways, I'm expecting a ridiculously sunny summer to make up for this really wet spring. ^_^

    Also, I love this: "I will keep on exercising (reasonably) so that I can keep on living (fully)" and this: "And right now that means continuing to work on artistic things, as well as a super duper secret writing project that I am SO EXCITED to tell you more about soon."

    I can't wait to hear more about that project soon, and your creative spurts have helped to motivate me to get moving on the WIP, and also tackle other projects.



  4. We'd love to have some of your rain in our area. We need rain. We're in a drought down here.

    Okay, weather-related kvetching aside, all is well on my stretch of the beach. I'm closer to getting the Etsy shop going, and I'm playing with new (new to me, anyway) hoop moves. Haven't done any real writing lately other than a few poems and blog posts, but that will be changing shortly.

    My other creative endeavor at the moment is a hoop bouquet I'm taking to Khaanee at the physical rehab center tomorrow. I'll post a shot for Snapshot Sunday on Circular Praise ( tomorrow after I add the finishing touches.

  5. Ooh I'm excited to see it!

  6. It's up! Khaanee loved it - but what hoopgirl wouldn't love a flower arrangement made with bracelets as hoops? ;)


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King