Living with bipolar is a pilgrimage. For me, committing to daily exercise has come full circle. I am walking my way out of depression. 

I have known about the benefits of daily exercise for a long time. In college and after, I committed myself to running or aerobic Pilates 6 days a week. Then, in the fall of 2013, neck pain forced me to stop running and see a chiropractor.

Once I was well enough to begin walking for exercise again, I was in the middle of my first year of teaching and barely found time to do my chiropractic stretches, let alone walk outside after school. Besides, I figured, I was on my feet all day on the job anyway.

In 2014 I got engaged and began planning a wedding, then tried my hand at marriage during my second year of teaching. Again, I let myself be too busy to walk outside the walls of a school building every day.

That fall, when depression overwhelmed me, I took sick leave and came home. Health suddenly became my biggest personal priority. It was time to stop accomplishing and start healing, taking better care of my body within the limitations I have been given.

I started doing research to find out what might make me better. I focused on natural, simple health remedies for easing depression and anxiety, since those were my chief symptoms.

According to my research, daily sunshine, exercise and doing things you love are all depression fighters.  It was so simple: why not combine depression combatants into a daily walk with my husband and our oversized puppy?

The voices called for change. I finally listened.

Now, our daily constitutional is a highlight of my day. We are teaching Thor to heel, so the walks are sometimes intense, but I always feel better after a few laps around East Lake park with sunshine and winter on my face.

Vitamin D, beauty and endorphins work wonders. I feel like Colin, the invalid  in The Secret Garden who slowly recovers from his lifelong illness with fresh air, exercise and a little love.

Bundle up, Friends, and walk your winter blues away.