How to Exercise on a Bad Mental Health Day!

1. Start Small

On days where your mental health is making it difficult to even get out of bed at all, start small. Focus on getting out of bed first and feel good about that. Then maybe you can go for a small walk. If you’re feeling up to it, work your way up to a bigger goal. Be kind to yourself with each step, and celebrate every step, big or small. Even moving a little can have positive benefits.

2. Grab a Workout Buddy

Grab a friend or a loved one and ask them if they want to get some exercise with you. Not only is it OK to ask for help, but by exercising with a friend you’re helping them stay active, too.

3. Think of it as Part of Your Treatment

Exercise may not be the cure for a bad mental health day but the benefits can help boost your mood and relieve stress. Work physical activity into your routine the same way you’d set a reminder to take medication or schedule time to see a doctor. Try different things like running or yoga to find out what gives you the most benefit.

4. Make a Playlist

Music can work wonders for calming your brain and getting rid of negative thoughts. Experiment with different playlists, from smooth and relaxing to powerful and motivated.

5. Treat Yourself

Treat yourself to something nice. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but Treat yourself to something nice. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but allow yourself to recognize how hard you’re working and how great you’re doing.

6. Give Yourself Permission to Take Time Off

If getting out of bed is just not happening, if you can’t bring yourself to get outside, let that be OK. Give yourself permission to not exercise and allow yourself to relax. Just because you couldn’t do it doesn’t mean you are failure –
so go easy on yourself, just like you would when you don’t feel “physically” well.

Disclaimer: Physical activity is not a cure for mental illness. Although there are
many positive benefits associated with physical activity, it is important to seek help when necessary and consider adding additional supports.

Author: Madeleine Weichel