Minneapolis punks jimmy and bryan answer Razorcake readers’ concerns in Dear ACABby, an advice column for the rest of us. Today, they deal with getting motivated despite depression. If you’ve got a problem you’d like Dear ACABby to have a go at, you can email them at [email protected] and they’ll get back to you here at razorcake.org.
What is the best way to get motivated to go to the gym when going through a depressive phase?
Depression is a hell of a beast (not that you don’t know that already), intensified by the ongoing pandemic and now by the assuredly awkward transition for some back into some semblance of a prior social life. This renewed social energy can be invigorating, but it’s also easy to retreat further in the crush of it all. It’s admirable to try to get into the swing of a hobby in the midst of a depressive bout, and honestly, one of the best first steps (that is, from just giving in to it).
We’d suggest a few things: is there someone in your life who would be down to go with you? It’s easier to hold yourself accountable to someone else than your own brain, plus, there’s the added benefit of socializing generally being at least somewhat ameliorative of the effects of depression. Someone else’s (hopefully) positive energy can be energizing, and making a day of it—maybe getting coffee or stopping by the record store—could sweeten the deal even more (plus you get to spend time with your friend!).
It may also be helpful, if you’re going solo (and not already doing this), to block out a specific day and time to commit yourself to going. That way, you can’t get caught up in the endless cycle of, “Oh yeah, I’ll do that…” and never getting to it. Tell yourself that you only have to go for five minutes, and if you hate it, you can leave. I use this one alllll the time, because usually, if you can trick yourself into doing something for five minutes, after that, it just feels that much easier to keep going. Getting started is half the battle, and we hope it gets easier for you!
Keep in mind, too, that struggles with mental health are struggles. If you’re finding it difficult or impossible to get up the motivation to, say, go to the gym, that’s okay. Focus on what’s manageable, being good to yourself, and surviving—the gym will still be there when you feel up to it. Do what you can when you can, and take it easy out there!
jimmy & bryan
jimmy & bryan are two Minneapolis punks and zinemakers, a poet and photographer, respectively. They like long walks to the taqueria, their absurdly meticulous hobbies, and workin’ towards a world beyond capitalism. You can send them your advice inquiries at [email protected] and they’ll get back to you as soon as possible.