The Best Antidote

Whatever gets you down, movement can help you find a way up. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I firmly believe in a number of different methods of medicine and therapy for treating what might be ailing us. I wrote about this in two of my early posts, Choices in Healthcare and The Best of Both Worlds.

I have had first hand success with homeopathic, naturopathic, movement therapy, and other forms of complementary and alternative medicine. So I do not believe they are “just a placebo”—something that works because we want it to, or believe that it will. Of course I also believe that a positive mindset is a necessary component of living a healthier life.

Someone who embodies the positive spirit for me is Clara Hughes. Talk about a positive attitude and smile that can light up any room she happens to be in. She will be in a lot of rooms in the next few months as she is embarking on her Big Ride. The six-time Olympic medal winner will be riding her bike through 95 communities across Canada, including Kingston on March 24, to continue the “Let’s Talk About It” campaign that raises awareness about mental illness and raises funds to support mental health programs. Clara Hughes knows that movement—in this case bike riding—is good medicine for her depression. She’s written about this in a journal entry from November 2012 posted on her website.  She’s also talked very publicly about her struggles with depression.  The University Hospitals Kingston Foundation is sponsoring the local event. I’ll definitely be attending, and am hoping to get the chance to speak to Clara about her journey, and how she’s inspired so many, including me. Her upcoming visit inspired this post.

The clinical depression I was diagnosed with in 2000 continues to rear its ugly head once in a while, and although I’ve found taking medication helpful in the past, I prefer alternative treatments, including movement. I really got moving in 2005 with long-distance walking. I started with five kilometre walks, and within a few months I was training for, and completed a half-marathon—21 kilometres. The next year I did two more half-marathons, and a full marathon. I couldn’t, and sometimes still don’t, believe I could do that. The hardest steps are the first two out the door some days. Although I don’t enter those longer events, I still get out to walk on a regular basis. Icy and snow-packed roads and sidewalks have made it a challenge lately, but contrary to popular belief, winter won’t last forever.

My longest walks are now only about five kilometres, and they are usually only a way of getting from Point A to Point B and back again. I do keep moving though and I firmly believe that my other exercises—strength training, working out on a stability ball, and tone and stretch exercises, are the movement I need for my medicine. That is the best antidote to whatever might be bringing me down.

Writing is another positive therapy for me and I know that for many people art and music are good antidotes for their illnesses. There have been some marvellous studies, art shows, and music concerts that exemplify how people react positively to these creative outlets. They can really brighten up what otherwise might be a dull day.

That’s what I am expecting when I see and hear Clara Hughes. Her positive spirit and that wonderful smile will light up the Ambassador Hotel room where she is speaking, and I know everyone will leave that night feeling her spirit and passion for her work, and for her life. We’ll be following her Big Ride and cheering her on way.

Has there been someone who has inspired you? What do you do to bring yourself out of a “down” day? I’ll be writing more about positive therapies using art and music in future posts so I hope you’ll keep checking in.

I am totally in awe of the almost 400 people who follow this blog—many from countries around the world. I have no idea how you found me, but I am very grateful, and always appreciate your support, and your comments.


6 thoughts on “The Best Antidote

  1. Hi Christine: I find Toastmasters to be a great way to lift my spirits during the long winter that we’ve had to endure. How I miss Zumba! I used to love that as well, but they don’t have it in my community any more, so I’ll have to go farther and will do so once the weather smartens up! I also find blogging to be good for my soul and creative spirit. Cheers to you, my friend.

    1. Hi Doreen:
      My apologies for not seeing this sooner. Getting together with others, and getting some exercise are great ways to lift the spirits and keep the body active and healthy. Writing, including blogging is also a good creative outlet for me, and I also find it very healing. Thanks, as always, for sharing your comments.

  2. This is a wonderful piece, Christine. I appreciated that you touch upon complementary services and treatments. I, too, am a firm believer that there is no single remedy and that different remedies suit certain people and perhaps not others.

    There are certainly days that I am down and it can be a struggle to coax me into getting up and working out–but after I do, I most definitely feel the benefits.

    I also complement this strategy with two pieces of 70% chocolate! 🙂

    1. Helen, I totally agree that the chocolate is a wonderful complement to other therapies, and I [almost] always include it. Using a combination of treatments is a winning combination for me, and the support of friends also helps immensely.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s