Like some millennial women, I suffer from mental illness. In my case, it’s anxiety that leaves me feeling nervous and exhausted.
While not everyone can handle their anxiety without the assistance of medication or regular therapy, I’ve found one way to ease my more anxious periods is to work out.
So what are my favorite workouts to take down anxiety?
Because of the breathing techniques required to have a good yoga session, I’ve always found yoga extremely calming. It forces me to take a second and just pause, which is super helpful when my thoughts are going and going so quickly that just sitting is exhausting. Plus, I like that I can do yoga alone or with a class, which makes it easy to switch things up and gain a new perspective.
I started lifting weights about a year ago, and it’s become a practice that really helps me calm down when my anxiety is at its peak. Something about picking up something heavy and throwing it down creates a major release, and just focusing on my body in a new way helps calm me down.
Going for walks
Being outside always helps me re-focus myself. Combined with a brisk walk, being outdoors is definitely a way of centering myself and my thoughts. Plus, seeing the world go by and being in a new environment distracts me from everything happening inside of my head in a way that always feels productive. Need new shoes? Runner Click is a great resource for finding a pair that will work comfortably for you.
When I just need to escape it all, I load up my phone with the most intense rap I can find and hit the pavement to some heavy beats. While this clearly doesn’t cure my mental illness, it does make me feel empowered and like I’ve regained control of my body. Too, it’s hard to think about anything but just pushing myself and focusing on my breathing, which is a nice break from my rambling thoughts.
Again, if your anxiety isn’t eased by working out, don’t worry! However you handle your anxiety is completely, 100% valid, as it’s a very personal thing. There’s zero shame in relying on medication, therapy, or another practice to help you live your life a little happier, and a little healthier.