The Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

38 days free from marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol and happy to report the cravings are practically gone  The best way they say to lose a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.  Well for me that replacement has been regular exercise.  And it has really made a difference in my mental and physical well-being.  I have never felt better and never exercised so much since I was playing sports as a kid and teenager.

Prior to 38 days ago, I was smoking cigarettes and pot on a throughout the day basis.  I had a medical marijuana card so it was legal and I used it for my anxiety which had been off the hinges after my last attempt at working.  But the problem was that the high didn’t last so I kept doing it to feel better.  And then when I smoked I couldn’t drive so I stayed at home way too much and didn’t want to hang out with my friends or family as much due to the cycle

But the great news is that the benefits of exercise last much longer than any high and it is so cheap in comparison to buying weed and cigarettes.

I even started going to the gym again and they have this awesome total body massage chair and table which helps my muscles to feel better after my workouts!  I have even started to get a workout in  the morning so my day starts off on the right foot.

So here are the many benefits but I am sure there are more~

  • A boost of endorphins after a good workout
  • Mental clarity
  • motivation to keep my house, life and myself in good shape and order
  • weight loss although it is slow
  • a fitter body
  • an excuse to get outside and also get the benefit of fresh air and sunshine when the weather is good
  • helps with memory
  • helps me to fall asleep faster and get better sleep so I don’t need as much (before I was getting 9-11 hours of sleep a night, now I get 7-8 and feel fine and ready to go)
  • adds variety to life as a new hobby I see myself doing the rest of my life
  • helps with stress
  • puts me in a good mood and helps me to stay there
  • my good moods are contagious so the people around me seem happier too!

I still have the occasional bad day but it is usually due to taking my rest day when you exercise a lot.  I used to have 1 out of 3 or 4 bad days but recently I actually had my longest streak of 9 days of feeling great and being motivated since being diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder in 2008

I vary my workouts to avoid boredom.  Lately I have been walking a lot, 9-12 miles a day actually because I compete on fitbit with people from around the country and my home town and I am very competitive ha ha.  But I will get tired of that after a while and get back to my sparkpeople videos for Latin spice dance workouts, cardio boogie, upper and lower body strengthening and intense power workouts to upbeat music.

One of the disadvantages of working out is that injury is common and it happened to me.  I strained my shoulder so have had to avoid upper body workouts until it heals.  I also stretch most days for ten minutes to help prevent injury and just bought a stability ball to work on my core muscles while I am sitting at my computer!

If you don’t exercise I urge you to try it for two weeks and see how your feel.  Start with a ten minute walk and go up from there but try to give it your all if you can and you’ll feel better if you do!  If you experience the benefits already as a regular exerciser, post in the comments your favorite workout routine.  I  love to get new ideas all the time and surely my readers would be interested too.

Good night!

Pax

Victoria

A very therapeutic visit…

It had been a year and a half since my last visit with my therapist and it was time…

Was able to process my dad’s stroke and for the first time since July 2, 2016 was able to cry with someone else.  Usually crying only occurs for me when I am alone, usually laying in bed thinking about my dad and how my life has changed since receiving that awful phone call that he had a stroke and might not make it.  But he did!  He is alive and even though he is paralyzed on his left side, he is still with me but in a different way than before July 2.

She is just so wonderful!  I have to drive 45 minutes to see her and she asked me at the end of our session if a referral to another closer therapist was what I wanted.  I emphatically shook my head no.  When you find someone you trust and feel safe with it is worth the drive and extra effort.  Will see her again in 3 weeks and maybe my mom will come too!

My psychiatrist will be happy that seeing a therapist again is part of my routine although not sure how long it will last.  Time will tell.  Not worried about it at all!

Happy Monday to all!  Have a great week ahead filled with happiness and peace!

Pax

Victoria

Seeing my therapist tomorrow for a tune up!

Well I decided to go for it and see my old therapist who is just wonderful!  I am looking forward to process several things with her mainly my loss of my father as he used to be, my worries for my frail mom and teenage son.

My psychiatrist will be happy for sure!

I feel I am doing pretty good with everything but know I can be doing even better!

I also have 30 days clean and sober today so that is a very good thing.  I have been getting a lot more exercise to combat cravings and it is helping and also getting out more, seeing people and taking care of business so that’s another benefit of not smoking pot any more.

The exercise really helps my moods to be more even.  Today I even got up early and got some exercise in although small it is hard for me to exercise in the mornings because I am groggy from the meds I take at night.  But today I pushed past the excuses and did some lunges and a walk around my house because the weather is rainy which I am grateful for here in California.

Don’t know if I mentioned but I have joined an art class which has a great community feel.  I love the art although I am not very artistic and having a new hobby gives me something to look forward to between hospital visits and helping my mom and son.  Having something for me is awesome!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Pax

Victoria

The ups and downs of Schizoaffective Disorder

Life is like a roller coaster some days and other days I have tremendous peace.  Today I was in between, neither cold or hot.  I felt unorganized when I tried to bake some banana nut muffins but they came out good and I got the kitchen cleaned up.

I do feel quite a bit unorganized lately but am in the middle of many projects, taxes (blech!), a refinance for one of our rentals that I have to do so much for to save some serious money every month so I suppose it is worth it but the broker keeps asking for things, it is like a scavenger hunt each time I get an email from her!

Keeping up healthy eating takes time too and exercise has again become my daily friend for three weeks now!  Today I did a core challenge and my abs are sore in a good way:)  I am more motivated now than ever before to get rid of these last 25 pounds that I put on because of this disorder.  I have lost 30 so far so that is great and I am managing to keep it off but it takes a lot of work!!!!

I joined an art class too; although I am not much of an artist but needed a fun hobby in between hospital visits for my dad, helping my mom and worrying about my youngest son which I will get to in a minute.  We are actually working with pewter and although it is a bit tedious I am finding it relaxing and enjoyable when I am in the mood to work on it.  The sketches are hard for me though because I am a perfectionist and no matter how hard I try I can’t get what is in my mind out on paper.  But I am proud of myself for venturing out and taking a class and at least trying to be more creative.

As for my son- he just turned 18 and has mental health issues but not psychotic, more severe depression.  He can’t get and keep a job yet, couldn’t finish high school (recently got his GED), his car died so he uses mine or walks or bikes it, missed the registration for college so isn’t in school now.  He is saying he wants to go to a 4 year out of state but can’t even manage his life living with his parents. Oh my!  How much I pray for him every day and worry way too much about him.  I try to help him out but he just has a mind of his own.

The good news though is that now that he is an adult he is seeing my amazing psychiatrist who prescribed Wellbutrin and is keeping him on Prozac which he has taken for years.  I have hope that it will work and help his motivation.  Every day he sleeps in till 1 or 2 pm and just isn’t motivated to do the things he needs to do as an adult.  My other two children don’t have mental disorders like him and are supporting themselves so I guess two out of three children aren’t bad.  I just see his future and he is so bright and smart that I hope he can find his niche in life and not have to be supported by his parents the rest of his life.  He even talked about the army but they won’t take him because of the psych meds so yet another blow.  Thank goodness he isn’t suicidal…

So back to me,  I need to blog more it really helps me to vent about this disorder.  I do so much for others and managing a house is a full time job.  The work is never done.  I do feel stressed at times and other times it is smooth sailing.  I probably need to see a therapist again but don’t have the money but may just decide to do it anyway.  My mental health is very important to me and lately I wonder how well I am really dealing with everything.  I just don’t think about it most of the time and that’s probably not a good thing.

Thanks if you read this far.  I hope my readers are all doing well, staying positive despite this dastard disorder that robs us of our joy so much of the time.

Pax

Victoria