Okay so a few days back I was feeling a little under the weather and realized, for the gazillionth time this year, that's it's probably because I haven't been able to have my morning run for weeks now because the roads are so damn slippery with all the snow and the ice that taken into account my history of clumsiness and the fact that I've been having trouble just walking on the icy roads, I'd fall and break my back within the first five leaps if I went running in these conditions. So I haven't gone. And naturally, my mental health has suffered severely.
(And by severely, I mean Severus Snape severely. I've been uninspired and lower than usual in energy. I need my dose of fresh air and getting out of breath. I need it!)
A week ago, I decided to do something about it. I wondered if I could replace the morning run with a morning muscle exercise. I know it's not the same, not by far - it's a completely different workout and there's no fresh air - but I thought I'd give it a go, just to try. What could I lose, right? So I put down a yoga mat, changed into my exercise clothes, and executed a half-hour muscle training session I used to do a couple years back, using only my body weight.
Turned out that the muscle exercise worked better than I could have imagined. My mood enhanced. I felt great in my body. Granted, it wasn't the same as going for a run. It was more taxing on the muscles and it didn't include any sprints (my favourite part about running), but it was still better than no exercise at all.
I felt like by doing the exercise session, I'd taken care of myself, both physically and mentally.
Some people take care of themselves by having "me" days. Some chill watching TV. Some cook their favourite comfort food. Some order pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. And some do rigorous exercise.
I don't think one is better than another. Find one that works for you, one that helps you through rough days (or slippery winters), and do that whenever you need it to function properly.
For, after all, you're the most important person of your life. Treat yourself accordingly.