I never realized the importance of getting enough exercise until I couldn't exercise for a few months. Here's what I learned about the mental self-care benefits of exercise! #mentalhealth #exercise #rest #emotionalwellbeing #selfcare #selfcarehacks #mood #emotions #lupus #selfcaresunday

I never realized the importance of getting enough exercise until I couldn’t exercise for a few months. Here’s what I learned about the mental self-care benefits of exercise!

Getting Enough Exercise and Your Mental Health

“I just found out I have lupus,” I told a friend I hadn’t seen in several years.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said. She shook her head in sympathy. “What big changes will this bring to your life? This must be devastating news.”

I laughed, and she looked taken aback by my reaction. “Actually, I’m pretty excited to know what’s been intermittently wrong with me for the past 20 years. At times, I’ve wondered if I somehow generated episodes of debilitating aches and pains in my head, because doctors could never quite pin down what ailed me. It’s a relief to name the problem.”

“I didn’t realize you’ve had problems for that long,” she said. “You look so healthy and fit I didn’t realize you struggled. How did the doctors finally figure it out?”

“I read The Body Keeps the Score and discovered autoimmune diseases often arise after adults experience some kind of trauma. I suffered from caregiver trauma during Pedro’s cancer year, so I started researching autoimmune diseases and made an appointment with a rheumatologist.”

We chatted a bit more about trauma, autoimmune diseases, and how the body has some strange reactions to trauma. After we said our goodbyes, I thought about the connection between my body and my mind. Even during the flares of lupus (which often resulted in debilitating pain), I still maintained an exercise routine. For weeks it might hurt to move, and burn to lie down. But at least I could still walk (even if only at a sloth’s pace).

When I ruptured a ligament in my ankle last year, I spent two weeks in a recliner. Something I have never done as an adult. I thought I’d crawl out of my skin by the end of the second day. Listen to today’s podcast to hear the rest of the story, and what I learned about the connection between getting enough exercise and mental health.

Show Notes

Exercising in the winter.

You can read more about the connection between mental health and exercise here.

Download a FREE Self-Care Checklist to help you discover your why.

Nike Training Club

Beachbody on Demand

I never realized the importance of getting enough exercise until I couldn't exercise for a few months. Here's what I learned about the mental self-care benefits of exercise! #mentalhealth #exercise #rest #emotionalwellbeing #selfcare #selfcarehacks #mood #emotions #lupus #selfcaresunday

Come Back Next Week

Next week we’ll delve into the academic self-care benefits of getting enough exercise (they might surprise you!).

AND…the Winner is!

Congratulations to Jenny Ham, a podcast listener from Kansas who won the drawing for the Apple AirPod Pros! Thank you to everyone who listened, participated, and shared on social media!

  • Welcome to the Inspire Me Monday Community! The link-up opens Sundays at 4 pm, Arizona time.
  • Link up your family-friendly inspirational posts (no more than two, please).
  • Visit the person who links up BOTH before you and after you and leave a comment. This helps keep our community vibrant!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. As a person who hated exercise for many years, I finally realized the benefits of it for keeping my whole body, mind, and spirit in balance. I now view exercise the same way I view sleep. My body needs it everyday and when it doesn’t get it, I feel it effect my mind very quickly!


  2. Anita, I will be getting this book! Exercise is so important for our bodies, minds, and spirit. I’ll be doing weights and walking today. Thank you for all of this valuable information!

  3. I’ve been working with a trainer since January and making such strength improvements – then sciatica hit – and that pain – WOW! However, I had to keep moving, though I got little sleep. I’m building back now. I went for my second walk this morning – and my mind feels so much better for it!

  4. One of the (many) things I appreciate about you, Anita, is how intentional you are to learn new things–whether it’s about self-care, photography, writing, or how to take care of you. The connection between the mind and the body is a topic I am learning more about. One thing I’ve really come to enjoy is my early morning walks. This activity seems to set a good tone for my days.

  5. I have that book and need to take it out and read it. My brother was diagnosed with lupus and other autoimmune diseases. What I learned from his experience is autoimmune diseases are hard to diagnose and by the time they do, it’s long after the disease has advanced. After my relationship with God, my health is my number one priority. Exercise is a way of life for me. I will be moving my body in some way whether it’s weight training, walking, dancing and everything in between until I take my last breath. It’s equally as important as sleep.
    Yvonne Chase recently posted…Believe The Truth Not All WomenMy Profile

  6. Hi Anita,

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago and my rheumatologist recommended I stop all of my fun workouts–Zumba, weightlifting classes, etc.–because the heavy exercise caused me to flare.

    Now, I walk which isn’t nearly as enjoyable (although it would be if I lived near the beach!) I’m considering working in Pilates by starting with an easy five-minute workout and slowly building up. Thanks for the encouragement.


  7. I only have arthritis, but it always feels like a delicate balance…

    If I get too much exercise, I hurt!

    If I don’t get enough exercise, that hurts too!

    There is a sweet spot, but I often overshoot it and end up in pain : (

    I enjoyed your article, I’ll make sure to share it with friends who are having issues with autoimmune disease as I think they will get something out of it!

  8. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health, and exercise can be a great tool for achieving both. SCH 102 is a course that explores the mental self-care benefits of getting enough exercise, and it’s a valuable resource for anyone who wants to prioritize their mental health and well-being.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

You may also like

%d bloggers like this: