The Every Body Is Beautiful Project

How I Motivate Myself to Move My Body When I'm Depressed and Anxious

Movement, Wellness, RecoveryOphelia's PlaceComment

Anxiety and depression generally don’t make us feel good or inspired.

Most of us don’t jump out of bed, ready to tackle the day, much less feel motivated to move our body when we’re struggling.

We know the health of our mental state effects the health of our entire state of being.

We know this, but knowing only matters so much.

Unsplash image via Benjamin Combs

Unsplash image via Benjamin Combs

The next step is what do we do with this knowing.

A step I often take when I’m depressed is to ask myself, “What’s the least you can do today, Jill?”

That question feels non-threatening to me.

I can breathe through it.

It’s open-ended, manageable and feels possible.  

It asks me to “show up” for the day the best that I can, and get this:

The best of us can be the least.

Imagine that.

(For all of us out there “seeking our best selves” -- I invite you to ponder on that for a moment. It puts me in check every time.)

It’s in the showing up that I start to feel a break in the clouds.

So, I’ve taken this same approach to moving my body.

Society has trained us to think that if we’re going to move our body (aka exercise or get fit… I hate that phrase even more), we have to do so at the maximum, most-extreme level, every time.

We need to “work out” hard, fast, long and give 110 percent! 


Not true.

I’m calling bullshit.

And I’m asking all of us who don’t resonate with that message to throw it away and never look back.

These toxic teachings have no place in our conversations here around health.

Moving my body, in some way, shape or form, is good for my mental health.


It gets my blood pumping, oxygen flowing and serotonin boosting.

But I don’t always feel in the mood to move when I’m depressed and anxious, like today.

So, I employed my practice of, “What’s the least you can do today, Jill?” when thinking about moving my body for my mental health.

Not for my weight.

Not for my fitness level.

Not to fit a beauty or athletic ideal.

But, for my mental health.

And, it turned out that the least I could do was something -- and something was enough.

It always is.

Let go of the black-and-white thinking that stops you from doing something.

Efforts matter, regardless of how small or big of an effort you make.  

And while you’re at it, let go of the labels and judgments made on the effort itself.

Everything we do makes an impact.

Like clockwork, I could feel the clouds part a bit after I moved my body, and I felt a lift.  

Not a fix, but a lift.

I can work with that. Can you? 

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Warrior for Change