I was scrolling through blogs the other day and came across this amazing response that Arnold Schwarzenegger gave to a depressed fan who asked him to motivate him to stop being lazy and go to the gym:
“I’m not going to be that hard on you. Please don’t be that hard on yourself. We all go through challenges, we all go through failure. Sometimes life is a workout. But the key thing is you get up. Just move a little. Roll out of bed and do some pushups or go for a walk. Just do something. One step at a time, I hope you feel better and get back to the gym. But don’t beat yourself up, because that’s just useless talk. It doesn’t get you closer to the gym. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Good luck.”
My absolute favourite part of that is the sentence “sometimes life is a workout”, because it’s so true, especially for someone suffering from depression.
I am constantly pushing myself. I have so much that I want to do with my life that I try to cram everything in and do it all at once. I want to train for a half marathon, practise Muay Thai regularly, get this blog up and running, start working on my business again, see friends, travel. The list goes on.
With so many things on my to do list, I often forget that it’s exactly this mentality that caused my descent into depression in the first place. Not to mention the fact that I am a lot less mentally resilient these days. If I pile on the pressure too much I quickly start to feel overwhelmed and my mental health goes downhill.
Despite knowing better, I still try to push myself on bad days and sometimes still beat myself up for not being able to achieve the things I wanted to that day. But I’m slowly coming to accept that sometimes it’s absolutely okay to put everything on the back burner and just take a day out of life.
Everyday life can be draining enough when you are suffering from a mental health problem, without putting a load of pressure on yourself. As Arnie so eloquently said, life itself can indeed be a workout. And sometimes, you need to take a break from it. Some time to recharge your batteries and get yourself mentally fit again.
From personal experience, I know that if I start to feel mentally unwell and continue to push through it without allowing myself time to recover I will just continue to get worse. Sometimes that recovery time will involve going out and doing things that make me feel better. Exercising and seeing friends. But sometimes it won’t. Sometimes it means staying inside, drinking tea and watching movies.
I come out of it so much more able to cope with normal life and able to continue with that mountain of things I want to do.
If you’re having a bad mental health day and need to take a day out of life, try these super simple self care ideas for bad days, to help get you feeling mentally well again.