research digest: Exercise does it again!

21:29:00 Karen Li 0 Comments 

Depression and burnout: vicious cycles and the saving grace of exercise

Summary: Depression -> burn out, burn out -> depression and exercise can help to stop this vicious cycle. Exercise is good for sleep, helps with the physical consequence for stress, and psychological wellbeing. 

My thoughts: It's easy to say. My experience in therapy is that the rationale needs to be explained well. When you are depressed, one of the symptoms is a lack of motivation and unwillingness to get going. So to tell someone to simply go and go for a 10km run isn't going to work. When someone is burnt out and stressed, having to squeeze in an hour long pilates session seems almost impossible. 

Research like this provides a stronger rationale to present to clients. Some tips I have for introducing exercise include: 1) starting small- even walking out to the mailbox, and increasing the distance each day 2) be accountable to someone 3) making it something they would enjoy 4) check the homework 5) maybe even start a therapy session outside requiring low levels of exercise 6) always work with a team and seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. 

There is another type of exercise that often feels neglected. That is spiritual exercise. Ah, when things are positive it's easy to remember to pray and read the bible. But when things get tough, you have assignments, exams, and feel burned out, it may seem like it's impossible to fit spiritual things in. This spiritual exercise can also break down the negative cycle of complaints, lack of time etc. Our God's grace is always sufficient- so do some spiritual exercise today!

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