How to Stay Healthy and Fit While Feeling Depressed

Lately I’ve been feeling sad and depressed, and I’m worried about it taking a toll on my body. So here’s what I’m doing to keep up my health and fitness while dealing with the blues.

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How to stay healty fit while depressed

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This is not the first time I’ve gone through difficult times in my life.

When my sister lost her battle to leukemia, I felt like I had been slapped in the face, and I couldn’t stop crying for days.

And then, life just took a general wrong turn: my husband fell ill, our business took a nosedive, and we got kicked out of the house we had living in. I started feeling sad all the time, and nothing could make me feel better.

To make matters worse, my eating habits spiraled out of control. I tend to be an emotional eater, so you can imagine what my depressed state did to my body. I ended up gaining almost 10 pounds!

I spent a year trying to get rid of those pounds, and I’m proud to say I succeeded.

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But this year started off badly. My father’s illness got worse, and he recently passed away.

Again, I felt like I had been slapped in the face. I mean, I had just started feeling better about life, and suddenly my dad is gone. His absence makes me feel terribly lost and alone.

At first I was just numb, but now I’m definitely falling back into the sadness mode. I have days when I’m feeling positive and upbeat, and days when I have trouble just getting out of bed.

I’m doing my best to keep up my chin up but it’s hard. And I’m also worried I’ll gain 10 pounds again. However, I’m determined not to let that happen.

So now I have a plan.

How to Stay Healthy and Fit While Feeling Depressed

Dealing with depression or grief can take its toll, physically and emotionally.

This is why I have come up with a plan which I hope will help me get through this difficult time while remaining as healthy, fit, and sane as possible.

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Eat a Healthy Diet

I know this is easier said than done, but it helps to have a set of guidelines I can more or less stick to.

1. Get enough nutrients

The first thing is to keep my body properly nourished in order to stay healthy.

Serotonin is the body’s natural “feel good” chemical, so it improves mood and helps fight anxiety and depression. Folate, vitamin B, and healthy fats like omega 3 are all helpful in stimulating serotonin production.

These nutrients are found in fish oil, nuts, flaxseed, green leafy veggies, meat, milk, fish, and eggs.

This is great news because I eat most of these on a regular basis (except milk), so I should just try to stick to my regular diet and that’s it.

2. Avoid stimulants

Alcohol, sugar, and caffeine produce highs and lows which can make depression symptoms worse.

Therefore, I plan on avoiding my regular glass of wine and replacing it with a cup of chai tea.

Sugar is going to be more difficult because of the emotional eating, but I’m going to try to keep sweet stuff out of the house, or at least most of it. It’s hard to do with the kids around.

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3. Eat at regular intervals

Eating regularly keeps glucose levels in check and this helps avoid the highs and lows.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly down, I tend to eat unhealthy food because I don’t feel like cooking.

But it helps to do meal planning and prepping when I’m in a high mood, so I’ll have healthy food ready to eat when I’m feeling down. 

4. Keep junk food out of the house

I don’t want to be tempted to start eating junk out of a bag. It fuels my emotional eating, and it’s a surefire way to add inches to my waist.

This won’t be easy to do when there are two kids and a teenager in the house. Just like with sugar, avoiding junk is going to be the hard part.

5. Do intermittent fasting

This one is controversial, but I’ve been doing this for a while now and it definitely works for me. I stop eating at 7 or 8 pm and have breakfast at 9 the next morning. It’s really not difficult.

Intermittent fasting helps me because on days when I do eat junk, my body feels better after going without food for a while. And even on days when I don’t eat junk, fasting helps settle my upset stomach from anxiety.

Stay healthy and fit while depressed 3

Do exercise

This isn’t so difficult for me. I have learned to love exercise and my workouts are something I always look forward to.

Exercise is key for treating depression because it releases endorphins, which are your body’s “feel good” hormones. It also increases energy levels and improves sleep. And stimulates serotonin production.

However, there days when I feel I can hardly move, so I have to find ways to keep myself on a workout schedule.

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1. Do short but intense workouts

I really don’t have the mindset to spend an hour or more doing exercise, so short HIIT workouts are better.

It’s easier to work out if I tell myself I have to get up and move for only 15 minutes instead of an hour.

2. Go outside

My kids are strict about their playground time, so it’s a good idea to schedule a workout during that time.

It’s a lot more motivating to work out outside and get some sunshine and fresh air than to stay cooped up at home.

3. Don’t sit around

This is also going to be tricky. It’s one thing to do a workout, but it’s another to keep myself active the rest of the day.

The good news is there are many things which count as physical activity: housework, gardening, walking, yoga.

I plan on having my kids help me with this. They agreed to be in charge of nagging me to do the chores and the yardwork so I won’t sit around all day.

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Maintain a healthy lifestyle

It’s difficult to keep up with everything when dealing with emotional issues, but I have to try. It’s not a good idea to let things fall apart because that’s only going to make me feel worse.

1. Keep up with my regular routine

Having kids helps with this becuase I still have to take them to school, pick them up, make meals, do chores, and help with homework. I drag my feet through the daily routine sometimes, but everything’s fine as long as I get most of it done somehow.

But I also have my writing and work-at-home schedule to maintain, which might be hard.

I have decided not to be so hard on myself if I don’t keep up with my blogging schedule. I consider it a win that I’m not giving up on the writing altogether.

Besides, I love writing. It might even be therapeutic for me.

The important thing here is to avoid punishing myself for not keeping up with everything. Self-love, please!

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2. Get enough sleep

Some nights, I just can’t sleep. Some mornings, I just can’t open my eyes.

My sleep schedule is completely out of whack, but what I can do is go to bed and get up every day at fixed times to get my body on schedule again.

I’ve found reading a book before bedtime and having a cup of chai tea are very good remedies for insomnia. No pills, please!

3. Get enough sunshine

Going out to the playground with the kids helps me get some much-needed sunshine.

Sunshine is essential for wellness. It improves mood and energy levels because it stimulates serotonin production.

So I’ll just let my kids drag me outside for a little while every day.

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4. Meditate

After my mother-in-law died, my father-in-law pulled himself out of depression by meditating.

Although I haven’t tried it, I honestly believe in the power of meditation. I’m willing to try it if my mood doesn’t improve in a few weeks.

5. Get support

The last time I was depressed, I closed myself off from from other people, and it wasn’t a good idea.

Sometimes, you just have to accept you can’t deal with things on your own.

Like most people, I tend to avoid doing anything that might make others feel uncomfortable.  However, it’s easier to deal with grief and sorrow if you’re willing to rely on other people for support. That’s what BFFs are for.

Besides, the rest of my family is grieving too, so we should all support each other. My kids also have emotions to process. 

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Dealing with grief in a healthy way

I know this isn’t going to be easy.

I’m not sure if it’s going to work, but having a plan reassures me I can deal with the grief and sorrow in a healthy way.

Make no mistake. It’s not easy to stop feeling sad. It requires time, patience, and acceptance.

If you’re feeling depressed, the first thing you should know is you’re not alone. And also know it’s valid to feel better one day and then feel bad again the next day.

Accept the fact you’re feeling sad. It’s a natural, human response to tragic situations. You don’t have to be happy all the time.

Sometimes, bad things happen, but it’s not your fault.

Seek professional help if you don’t think you have the strength to deal with grief, anxiety, or depression on your own.

As for me, I know this too shall pass. In the end, it’s not about bouncig back, but crawling forward, one little inch at a time.

Have you ever felt depressed? How did you deal with it?


17 thoughts on “How to Stay Healthy and Fit While Feeling Depressed

  1. I needed to see this today. I’m so sorry about your loses. I actually lost my dad yesterday afternoon, I’m still dumbfounded; I have no idea how to feel or become ok with it. I’m pinning this post because I’m going to need help & inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello I loved your post but, from my own experience, I have found caffeine to be beneficial at helping me manage my depression. Although you are right to say that these substances can bring highs and lows, I found caffeine, or coffee/tea to give me that bit of energy that helps me get into the flow and out of my funk. Scientists have actually done experience with severely depressed patients in which they physically shock sections of the brain in order to get them moving faster. When they do this, the patients report feeling happy and energetic. They do this because when a brain is depressed, it’s running slower than normal. So, I believe that a little extra boost can really help those suffering from depression, I know it’s helped me! Alcohol, on the other hand, is not good at all. It is a depressive, so it makes drinkers more depressed over time. I hope you’re ok with my 2 cents, lol. -Rita

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for your 2 cents! I’ve heard other people say coffee has helped, but personally I’m too sensitive to caffeine and coffee makes my insomnia worse. But green tea is okay for me. The amount of caffeine in tea is just enough to give me energy without keeping me up. It’s about finding what works for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you’ve had a lot to deal with recently 🙂 For me the best thing to do is connect to what i’m actually feeling. Depression is usually because i’m resisting feeling something so it’s weighing heavy on me. I often find there is some anger there & I feel SO much better after a scream into a pillow & a good cry


    1. It’s true most of the time you can deal with bad stuff by screaming into a pillow and crying. However, dealing with grief and loss is more complicated because you must learn to live without someone who was a huge part of your life, and there are not enough pillow screams or tears that will make you feel better. It just takes time, nothing else.


  4. Oooh you’re totally on my wavelength! I too am doing something similar, that is, getting some new good habits to improve my mind and also body. Love your tips … it’s amazing how it actually does work. I’m sorry you’ve had some tough times but with all your plans, there’s no doubt that you’ll be on the mend in no time. Have. Lovely weekend and I look forward to your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry for the circumstances that caused your sadness and depression. Your tips are informative and definitely work. Last year at this time I realized I was in seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression (got a big dose of anxiety with it that hadn’t completely gone away). Amazing how eating a balanced diet (vitamins) and taking a walk outdoors and lot’s of sunshine can transform those feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

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