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23 Not-Overwhelming Ways To Work Out When You're Depressed

Because no, it's not easy.

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When you're dealing with depression, exercise is a great way to alleviate some of your symptoms — but actually doing it can feel like a herculean task.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images / Via instagram.com

Obviously, exercise alone isn't a cure for depression, but many find that combined with therapy and/or medication, sweating it out is great for the body and mind. So, we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their best tips for working out when they're depressed. Here's what works for them:

2. Write a letter to yourself as a reminder that you'll feel good after you sweat a little.

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"I write a letter to myself when I feel really good because I've been eating healthy and exercising. I remind myself that all I need to do is go to the grocery store and pop in a workout DVD to get my endorphins flowing."

—Amanda Turner, Facebook

3. Start your day off by stretching in bed.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

"Sometimes it just seems too daunting to get in workout clothes and get everything just right before exercising, so I take it super slow. Little victories make the rest of the day better."

—Linzy Jensen, Facebook

Here are a bunch of exercises you can do while lying down.

4. Carry around your workout gear just in case.

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"To get back into the gym after a period of immobilisation, I’ll pack my gym gear and cart it around for a few days, unused, waiting for the right moment when I both have the motivation to go, and have my things on hand to actually get in there. Then it’s easy because I’ll feel so much better afterward, and I’ll have the energy and be in the mood to keep going in again."

erenah

5. Exercise at home where you won't feel watched or judged.

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"Going outside is very challenging for me because I have severe social anxiety and I'm insecure about my body and how much I sweat. Ever since I removed that barrier to exercising, I've actually been enjoying and looking forward to it. It makes me feel like I've achieved something."

—Eve Amanda Dove, Facebook

6. Don't put pressure on yourself to complete a whole program or stick to a strict schedule.

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"I go through cycles whenever I try to start working out again. I'll be like, 'OK, I'm going to become a morning person and work out before school every day!' or, 'I'm finally going to do Couch to 5K!' or, 'I'm going to become a yoga bunny!' It was very all-or-nothing and it never worked because I always gave up the first moment I didn't stick to a program perfectly.

It was only once I started taking it day by day like, 'OK, today I feel like I can jog for 10 minutes,' or, 'I'll try this new class today,' or, 'I'm just going to do some bodyweight exercises in my room,' that's when I actually developed long-term habits. One day at a time."

—Jane Mary, Facebook

7. Make your after-workout shower super luxurious so you have something to look forward to.

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"Because everyone knows the best part of working out is being able to pamper the shit out of yourself after!"

—Amanda Swift

Check out these things you need to up your shower game.

8. Queue up an inspirational playlist and get out into nature.

Luke Pamer / Unsplash / Via unsplash.com

"So one thing I regularly do is take a walk at my favorite local park. I have several playlists I've made on Spotify that are filled with positive, inspirational, upbeat songs and I won't listen to anything else but those while I'm on my walk. The sunshine, scenery, and happy music help quite a bit."

—Bethany Whaley, Facebook

9. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks so exercise feels less like exercise.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

"I'll go for a long walk and listen to a podcast so I can focus on that rather than the negativity running through my mind. My favorite right now is Thinking Sideways."

—Reem Taher, Facebook

10. Integrate exercise into your day in non-negotiable ways.

NBC

"I now cycle to work each day — it means one hour of exercise total a day that I wouldn't get otherwise. It's a huge preventative measure for me. Because it's my primary mode of transport I can't just cop out, even when I'm feeling tired or the weather isn't great."

—Jess Hawes, Facebook

11. Get an app that makes exercise a game (like Zombies, Run!) or that tricks you into working out (like Pokémon Go).

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—Rebekah Marie Byrd, Facebook

12. Track your exercise and progress for that extra boost of motivation.

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“Do even five squats and log that bad boy IMMEDIATELY. The workout itself will up a bunch of hormones that will improve your mood, and then logging it gives you a second boost. Monopolize on that.”

—Kira Kivisto, Facebook

13. Consider renting equipment for a more accessible alternative to the gym.

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"I rented a treadmill to keep in my house. I used to get panic attacks when I went outside for a walk or went to a gym so I started using the treadmill in my house. I just said to myself, 'Even if I just walk for 10 minutes, that's something I have done today.' From there I built up to jogging and then running. Getting into the routine of doing some small bit of exercise every day made the outside less intimidating."

—Hana Jo, Facebook

14. Put on the gear even if you don't feel like working out.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

"I would put on my running shoes first thing out of the shower. That's it. It was really about being set into motion because if my shoes were on, I might as well get my pedometer on too, and I might as well go outside, and I might as well walk to the store or the park, and I might as well jog a little too."

candyholic000

15. Work out with friends to stay accountable (and to make it more fun, tbh).

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"Getting friends to agree to activities like going to the gym or going for a bike ride. If you have plans with someone else your less likely to break them and even if you try to break them your friend can be there to motivate you to go through with them."

meganc4b62b3da3

16. Plan your workouts in a super honest and specific way.

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

"I’ll either write it in my planner and/or say it out loud to myself, like, 'At 7 p.m., I am going to get my workout clothes on, and I’m going to run for 10 minutes. I know it sucks, running sucks. It’s going to suck. But then it’ll be over and it won’t suck and I’ll feel better. Then I’m going to take a shower and feel fresh and energized and I’ll forget how much it sucked.”

KristenMita

17. Sign up for classes ahead of time so you're more likely to follow through.

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"The only thing that gets me to exercise when I’m depressed is taking a class. Signing up for a biweekly spin or cardio class gives me a commitment I feel I must follow through on because of the money (or in my college student case, the grade)."

elizabethmcquaidb

18. Start with small goals because a little is better than nothing, and you might wind up doing more anyway.

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"Normally, I’ll run four to five laps around a park. On days when I’m not feeling it, I just start by doing one. When I finish that one, I think about how I’m doing and do another one. I just do that as long as I can, doesn’t matter if I only finish one or two or three laps, just as long as I’m getting it done."

frenzicartist

19. Invest in some new colorful workout gear.

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"I would buy a new workout shirt or pants in fun, bright colors to help excite my brain."

lorenab4d753e958

20. Dance around your room to pump-up music, seriously.

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"Put on your favorite music. Draw the blinds. Get in your underwear. Smile. Dance. Get your blood flowing. It might not be the gym, but it still gets your heart pumping and does a lot to wake up your soul."

—Felicia Marie, Facebook

21. Give yoga a chance just to see how it feels.

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"What I love about yoga is how adaptable it is. You can practice in a class, at home, in your office chair, even in bed. You can do breathing exercises literally anywhere. You can practice for 10 minutes or an hour. You can decide how far you want to push yourself physically. Sometimes I persuade myself to go to class by promising that if I want to lie in child’s pose the whole time, that’s fine. Once I’m there, on the mat, I usually find that I want to do more, but it’s getting there in the first place that’s the real accomplishment."

checarina

22. Trust that your body will eventually get on board with your routine — and you might even wind up liking it.

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"If you keep doing this for a week or so, you won’t feel right if you are out of your routine."

kristid4a12cc10f

23. Above all, be kind to yourself and accept that some days it's not going to happen — and that's okay.

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"Accept that when your depression is at its worse, you're probably not going to be eating properly and doing exercise. Try your best not to beat yourself up over it or feel guilty about what you think you 'should' be doing."

—Ben Taylor, Facebook

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