It’s weird times and things have changed. Things you used to be able to say are now not PC, so they’re said less. And then there’s anxiety and depression which used to be talked about less but now seems to be part of everyone’s Instagram Bio, #depression #sufferer. Then you’ve got female and male depression, no it’s not a unique variant, but females seem to talk about their issues more, maybe it’s their close formed circles or willingness to share all their feelings, but even that’s not enough. Then there’s the guys, who tell each other to “Stop being a pussy, let’s get drunk”.
So going from not talking about it because you don’t know what it actually is, and people didn’t discuss it, to then not talking about it because everybody is talking about it. Almost like getting picked last for a school team, I didn’t want to stick my hand up and say, “oh ye I suffer with this too”. It almost seemed fake to say it. I’d buried how I felt for so long, but then it seemed to have crept up behind me one day and tapped me on the shoulder. It was a wake up that what I’d felt for years wasn’t fake, I wasn’t being a pussy. Something was wrong and things needed fixing.
You can’t flick through YouTube, pick up a magazine or scroll social media without coming across content on depression, yet numbers of suicides still rise.
So what’s the disconnect?
Unfortunately, it’s action, the same disconnect with people trying to get in better shape aesthetically, they have information on what to do and love to talk about improving but don’t do what’s required to change. Talking can be the first step for sure, but then what are you going to do? There has to be action. So let’s go through the simplest things to focus on. “Fitness”, the vaguest word ever encompasses all the following.
Walk more (and yes that’s without looking at your phone like a zombie). 7000 steps is a minimum daily and isn’t tough to do with the right tactics. Why that many? Well if you’re not walking you’re sitting, where you’ll probably be looking at a screen, slouched, breathing less and generally feeling worse.
Use resistance training, lift weights and use your bodyweight. The feeling of lifting a bit more, doing an extra push up or pullup, being a bit stronger and having control of your body is priceless. 3 x a week is a great frequency and even if you’re tired, doing the workout will energise you, you’ll always feel better after it. To have a goal is critical, it gives foresight and a future. Same reason some people that retire go downhill, they don’t have a goal anymore.
Add in some cardio at the end or on other days. Do things you like, that you can see progression in, that make you feel great afterwards.
Minimum 7hrs a night with less than a 1hr variance in sleep and wake time. The reason you feel like shit on a Monday is because you give yourself jet lag by going to sleep 4hrs later Fri and Sat night, now Sunday rolls along and you expect your body to go back to the usual 10pm sleep time. The body doesn’t like that and you will feel like shit, hence more coffee to even you out Monday AM (Which is also like pouring petrol on a fire for anxiety)
It’s your lifestyle choices that’ll make you feel like shit. Alcohol is a depressant, it will make everything worse. Only when your alcohol blood levels are increasing do you feel good, then you feel like crap when they plateau and worse when they decline. Paying for increased depression sounds silly right?
Also your food quality, quantity and bodyfat levels. If you eat too much, gain fat, feel like shit in your clothes or naked that’s daily depression right there, but stemming from choices you’re making. Shit food quality can make you feel worse too, and the problem is you get used to that feeling especially if you even it out with espressos, drugs, alcohol, and anything else you add in to try and feel better, when in fact it’s more your initial choices at the root of the problem. I’ve seen people on sleep medication that drink 30 espresso shots a day, well one of those things make the other necessary if you catch my drift. Better to look at the route cause.
But also what do you do daily that makes you happy that has a positive impact on your body and mind? Unfortunately, people do less things that make them happy these days. So we know alcohol makes you more unhappy than happy so that’s not a go to solution. Social media is basically a comparison of ourselves to everyone else that promotes themselves as better than us. That sounds shit too right. Watching your favourite show past bedtime sounds like ‘happy’ but then less sleep screws you up.
Limit the things that cause unhappiness/depression, or eliminate them if you can (I took out coffee and alcohol). And add more things that make you happy daily.
I challenge you to make 2 lists, one list of things that make you happy that might cost money and one list where nothing costs you a penny. See if you can get 10 things in each list. It’s not easy but that’s the point. We should have 20 things that make us happy, because we certainly have 20 that make us sad, and that’s the problem.
So you have some lifestyle behaviours to change for sure, get working on those, and make your ‘Happy List’ bigger and take action to do things from that list daily. And don’t just say you’ll do them. Diarize them. Arrange that weekly walk with a friend and diarize it so its there visibly. Same thing if you want to sleep earlier, add it to your diary with a reminder alert so it gets done.
It’s talking with no action that’s the problem. Talk yes, but then make action steps so things change.
For 20 years Lee has helped clients lose a lot of fat, drop that dress size or two, improve their strength, become pain free, improve sleep, stress and nutrition, and create an understanding of what it takes to make lasting changes and get results. Lee has been constantly fine tuning his skills to deliver the best nutrition advice, best training programs, and best lifestyle behaviour changes for you.
Check his services out here.