A lesson in exercise and mood.

SqueakAndDanielle-JohnChanPhoto Courtesy John Chan

I haven’t been to class for a week, and I’m feeling low. Somehow, it didn’t occur to me until an hour or two ago to connect the two.

I had good reasons for the hiatus – schooling commitments, lack of sleep from an overly busy week, plus having a cold. I couldn’t make it to our usual Saturday workout, and when Monday’s class came around it seemed like a smarter idea to stay home and go to bed early. Apparently, I was wrong.

The last two days I’ve been able to feel myself slipping into old patterns – feeling generally tired, over-sensitive and unmotivated. This was particularly problematic today, which I was supposed to spend catching up on all the things I haven’t had time to do, particularly starting to arrange my practicum for next year. Instead, I’ve spent most of the in that tired, guilty “I really need to start” place where nothing get done, not even real rest and recharging.

It was only while eating a late dinner that I made the connection with something I’d heard others say, that they’d feel crappy after missing a class or two. I’d always thought they meant physically, that their next class was much harder. Maybe that is what some of them mean. For me, it seems that the reality is more layered than that. My body and mind have gotten used to having regular boosts in happy-hormones, caused by exercise. Without it, both suffer. My body misses the activity, and my mind misses it exercise-induced high of endorphins, serotonin and adrenaline. My depression-prone brain reverts to its old, bad habits.

In a way, none of this is really news to me. It’s always been part of the explanation when doctors have pushed me to be more active. I’ve felt the different highs I get from different kinds and levels of exercise. I’ve been very aware of a consistently better mood since starting at Valkyrie. In another way, this has been a first. While I may have experienced a similar pattern in the past, this is the first time I’ve made the connections to really learn the lesson in my body and mind. Before it was just stuff I’d been told.

Next time, I’m going to class.

One Comment

  1. I’ve had that exact same experience! Missed a couple of classes and then bam! Craptastic. Especially when fighting depression, I have to remind myself that no one is going to be mean to me or give me a hard time when I come back and that I need to go and it’ll be fun and I’ll feel better.

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