If you follow us on Instagram (you totally should, but only if you want to…no pressure), you may have seen me share on my stories about my personal mental health challenge. I promised myself that I would get outside for some sort of movement (walk, run, pickleball, etc) every single day of December for at least 30 minutes. I asked for accountability and I’ve been reporting daily on my progress.
For the record: This was exclusively for my mental health.
Getting exercise isn’t my issue. Even in the depths of winter, I work out most days but I would just stay indoors. As the days get rudely short (it’s just so RUDE how short the days are now) and the temperatures dip, I tend to stay inside all day. I do battle seasonal affective disorder, which is a fancy way to say I get downright depressed in the winter months. One of the things that always helps, but is the hardest for me to do, is to get outside.
I’m sure there’s a doctor who can explain why, but for me, the vitamin D and fresh air are healing…even when it’s cold. So I’m doing it. I’m doing some sort of movement outside every single day of December.
Here are 6 things I’m learning:
- By announcing it as a goal, it helped me stick to it. There was one day I took a long walk but didn’t do my “I just did my outside movement today” post. I heard from some of my friends on Instagram. I loved that people were checking in on my progress.
- December is famously hectic for us all. Having this personal challenge to get outside really helped me manage the day-to-day stress. I do think it improved my overall mental health by being outside, even for as little as 30 minutes a day.
- It was hard on particularly rainy and dreary days, but I always (ALWAYS) felt better than when I started. Once on a rainy, cold day, someone asked, “Are you still going to get outside?” I realized we have the privilege of a car and a job I can do without leaving the house, but there are so many people who walk to bus stops and train stations for their commutes and daily needs. Those people don’t get a day off, so why would I?
- On those dreary days, that’s when I needed the tug of this personal challenge and that’s when I benefitted the most.
- My biggest challenge was the fashion of the whole thing…I despise being cold. I learned from my Instagram friends when running in colder temperatures you should dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer. It would be chilly for the first 5 minutes then be fine.
- I’ve also learned that I would never survive a winter in the Midwest. Every time I posted about doing a chilly run when it was 39 degrees, you guys would send me photos of the snow you were shoveling. I get it. You’re way tougher than I am. December in North Carolina (where I live) is very mild, but it’s still chillier than I like.
I don’t know if I will continue this into January, but I’d like to. What do you think? Should I?