It's no secret that exercise is good for us. As a child, I was always being told to go outside and 'blow off the cobwebs' which at the time, was probably just a way of getting me out of the house and out of the way but there was definitely some truth in that saying. If 'cobwebs' refers to that feeling of lethargy and heaviness which can sometimes accompany a day inside with no contact with the outside world, then certainly, running around with my friends or riding my bike up and down the street got rid of them.
More recently, we've come to understand that exercise is not only beneficial to our physical health but our emotional well being too. The photograph on the banner of this page is of a recent dog walk in my local park. It was a glorious day and the scene in front of me was too beautiful not to capture. Having a dog has forced me to undertake some sort of exercise every day and of all the expectations I had of being a dog owner, the enormous benefits to my mental health of daily exercise and being in touch with nature was not one of them. It's proved to me that a simple walk surrounded by nature is perhaps all the exercise we need. Of course, if a vigorous work out at your local gym is something you enjoy and feel motivated to do then that is brilliant but the point is that 'blowing off the cobwebs' can come about in many forms and feeling pressure to undertake something momentous can actually have the reverse effect and damage our emotional well being.
Counselling and medication are the standard treatments for depression and they are proven to be very effective. When I was studying, I remember a tutor saying to us during one of our lectures that alongside these standard treatments, it could be very beneficial to pay attention to 'SEEPS' . This acronym is a really good way of remembering the following:
S - Sleeping well, E - Exercise, E - Eating Well, P - Purposefulness, S - Social contact.
By paying attention to these 5 areas, our emotional well being can be improved significantly. However, what is very important to remember in all of this is that we can quickly move into a position of feeling pressured to do these things and again, this will have the reverse effect. Sometimes, it just feels too difficult to get off the starting blocks and make those small changes or, maybe you feel like you are trying to pay attention to those areas but you're still feeling low. Life doesn't always follow a pattern of if I do x, I will have the outcome of y and sometimes we need extra support to help us understand and achieve our objectives.
Whatever your situation, whether it's needing some help and guidance to 'blow off the cobwebs' or if you feel you need more support to understand how and why you're feeling what you do, coming to counselling can be a very beneficial way to explore how to move forward.