Exercise Your Mental Health

August 22, 2018 , In: Fitness, Move , With: No Comments

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I struggle with depression and anxiety. I know that sometimes, just getting out of bed can feel like it’s impossible. The other day I was scrolling through “self-care” routines on Pinterest… 98% of what’s posted is pretty extreme for anyone with depression or anxiety. A lot of the lists include things like “retail therapy” or “try something new”. But I’m of the belief that self-care on a low day is more along the lines of “take a shower” or “brush your teeth”. There is, however, one thing I’ve noticed on just about every list, and its one I think is the most important: Exercise.

Getting Started is the Hardest Part

Like I said, I get it. There are days that I can’t get out of bed. But I decided to just try a new workout video and now I’m addicted. As adults, it can be hard to find the time to exercise. Personally, I’ve started to do it after I roll out of bed… I workout at home in PJs and tennis shoes. I saw a quote the other day that said “Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have time’ say ‘it’s not a priority’. Then see how that sits with you.” This hit me. It’s true. I am still in the process of getting hired. I sit at home all day and yet I’m telling myself that I don’t have time to workout.

WHEN I LITERALLY HAVE ALL FREAKIN DAY TO SQUEEZE IN ANY KIND OF EXERCISE I CAN IMAGINE. Alright time to shift my mind. I have time and now I’m making exercise a priority because it’s important.

So, one of my favorite quotes about mental health and exercise actually comes from the very brilliant, Elle Woods. Yup, the character from Legally Blonde, played by Reese Witherspoon. She is arguing that a fitness guru couldn’t possibly be the person to shoot her own husband. When asked why she responds, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make people happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands… They just don’t.”

Exercise > Endorphins > Happy

Endorphins react with the brain’s receptors to release positive feelings. In fact, the feelings that are released are similar to the effect of morphine… except that they aren’t bad for you and they aren’t addictive like morphine! But it’s not just your brain! Endorphins are also released throughout the body, including your spinal cord. In addition to releasing positive feelings in your body, endorphins can also relieve the body from stress and pain.

I think back to when I remember being the happiest in my childhood when I was immersed in ballet. By the time I hit middle school, I was dancing 5-7 days per week anywhere from 3-10 hours per day. I got older and my dance days dwindled. The year the dancing stopped, was the year I was diagnosed with my depression and anxiety. Coincidence…? I think not! Every once in a while I’d go to the gym for yoga or to run on the elliptical but it never stuck. I couldn’t push myself on low days to leave the house to exercise. A few months ago I decided something needed to change.

Wham! Bam! Thank you, TAM!

The TAM BibleI ordered this book from Amazon called The Tracy Anderson Method (aka TAM). I read the entire book the night it arrived and started working out the next morning. Tracy Anderson’s approach along with her own results from utilizing her own method… and the fact that she was also a recovering dance-a-holic, made me connect with the method immediately.

I think that the difference in this exercise program is the variety and the immediate feeling that it’s working! Starting out, I don’t think I’ve ever been so sore! It was great. With the stress of moving and final days of work, I put it off. It wasn’t a priority. But since I’m home now, I’m making it a priority. And I feel so much better! After an hour of a combination of mat and dance cardio (Yeah, remember how I said she was a former dancer… her form of cardio is fun dance combinations.) I have so much more energy! My mood is boosted as is my creativity, which means more blog posts are coming!

Choose your Path

If you want to try out TAM, there are a bunch of ways to do the workouts. I highly suggest starting out with The Tracy Anderson Method because it’s going to give you the most detail about what it is and why it works. It also explains the important things but when she starts moving, you just follow along. I think it provides you the opportunity to really explore your body. She also explains that the workout changes every 10 days. I LOVE THAT! It keeps it from getting boring! Once you’ve got it ingrained in you, you can explore any of the following options.

DVDs: There’s so many of them! I have a couple that I haven’t tried yet… I don’t have a CD/DVD drive on my new computer. But I’m working on a way to get the tv in my office hooked up to an old DVD player. I’m dying to try the Unleash your Inner Pop Star video that’s sitting on my shelf!

Streaming via Prime Video: This is how I do it! Currently, I’m streaming her Precision Toning and Dance Cardio for Cardio Dance Exercise - Tracy Anderson

Beginners. I started two weeks ago and I’m already noticing all my shorts and pants are fitting better!

Streaming via TAM’s website: If only I could afford this… The workouts change every week from what I hear. It’s like the step before actually taking classes in one of Tracy’s studios but without leaving your home.

In a TAM Studio: This is on my bucket list! There are currently 7 locations all over the world. New York City, The Hamptons, Los Angeles, and Madrid. HOW COOL IS THAT!?

Time to Really Commit

Now, as I mentioned, I’ve been doing TAM on and off for a few months. But, I’ve built up the courage to kick my butt into gear and commit to 90 days of Metamorphosis by Tracy. I’m jumping into the Omnicentric Metamorphosis workout starting September first. I’ll finish the 90 days just before Christmas.

I’ve got a personal weight goal in mind and I’m committed to going all out with this program. I’ll be documenting my journey on my blog… Including before (ugh) and after pictures. Stay tuned for those updates coming next month!

I’ve already got my bullet journal all set up to track the workouts, my weight loss, and body measurements.

It’s only 1 hour a day for 90 days. I’ve got this!

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Kaiti J

Welcome to Garnished with Gratitude! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Kaiti, a fan of healthy-ish ways, lists/plans, and I'm a total goofball. I'm here to create a space that provides resources to live your best life! From food and exercise to visualization and inspiration, this site is for you.

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