DEADLIFTS OVER DEPRESSION
You may never guess who around you is struggling with their mental health by first glance, even though it surrounds us all the time.
It might seem unbelievable on first glance that a fit, personal trainer who seems to “have it all together” once struggled with debilitating anxiety, depression, and binge eating disorder only a few short years ago.
Deadlifts Over Depression is a movement started by Christine Coen to bring awareness of the impact of exercise on mental health. Inspired by her own personal story (we’ll get to that in a bit), she started this social media campaign where you take on the #deadliftsoverdepressionchallenge by filming a video doing as many deadlifts as you can in 60 seconds - posting with the mission of the campaign - and tagging friends to take on the challenge next to keep it going!
Since the challenge started August 1st, there have been over 50+ deadlift videos submitted and more challenges taken every day. Over $2000 of the $5K goal has been raised, with the funds being used to create programs for people struggling with their mental health based in movement, gut health balancing, and a supportive community of #warriors.
Christine combines her passion for fitness and mental health with her degree as a Registered Dietitian, 10 years as a one-on-one fitness professional, and her fitness videography production company to encourage people to get up and move every day.
As founder of Deadlifts Over Depression, Christine Coen raises awareness about how exercise can impact and even improve your mental health inspired by her own journey.
Our mission is to transform the way we talk about, educate, and treat depression and anxiety in the United States through physical activity and nutrition. Our goal is to empower 100,000 people to transform their mental wellbeing through exercise and nutrition choices.
Growing up, healthy choices and lifestyle were pretty easy for Christine. Coupled with a pretty straightforward and privileged path - good grades, good college, good job - it was simple enough to go through the motions and end up living what Christine calls a “mindless, color in the lines” life.
Everything worked, until one day it didn’t.
Christine’s lack of mindfulness about her own life started to catch up with her. In less than a year, she was burnt out and struggling at work while a mental health crisis with a close family member added to it all. Her stress and cortisol were at an all time high. Throughout all this, Christine found herself becoming more and more apathetic towards her own life. She was exhausted all the time, binge eating throughout the day and night, isolated herself from friends and family, and ended up gaining over 30lbs, which caused her to feel more shameful and embarrassed by the day.
She knew she needed help, but she didn’t know how to start. Her days became a see-saw of attempts to snap out of it and actions that drove her deeper into depression. Christine researched depression and overeaters groups, but she also ate ice cream for breakfast, left work early to go to sleep, and cancelled plans because of her anxiety and fatigue. Her once mindless healthy lifestyle felt so hard and far away from her current daily life. She finally accepted that she was struggling with depression and anxiety.
And then she didn’t tell anyone.
She didn’t see a doctor.
Didn’t go on medication.
She let shame overtake her and bring her lower.
Have you or someone you know ever suffered from depression or anxiety?
Oftentimes, our mindfulness and presence in our own mental health is missing. While medication is often critical and necessary for recovery and a healthy life, many of us also self-medicate in other ways in order to numb our feelings and distract ourselves. Taking a deep dive into how physical movement and nutrition impact not only our physical but also our mental health, Deadlifts over Depression will create a community and platform for people who are looking improve their symptoms and coping with depression and anxiety.
In a rare break from feeling fatigued, she dragged herself to a hot yoga class one evening. Leaving that class, covered in sweat with her heart racing, her breath both deep and strong, she realized the heaviness was lifted. She felt lighter, calmer, more peaceful, and more hopeful than before she walked into that class. At that moment, Christine knew movement was the medication she needed. Not to lose weight or burn calories or to punish herself for overeating, but because if she could feel this great and strong and calm from exercising, maybe she could use it to feel better a little bit every day.
Soon after, exercise went from being the way Christine felt a little better every day to the way to tap into her inner strength. This became her ‘why.’ Today, exercise is still Christine’s why, and she empowers others to use movement to transform their mental wellbeing, even if it’s just for five minutes at a time.
The Deadlifts Over Depression Challenge is meant for anyone who can pick something up off the ground and can be done with any weight or object. Check out this video to learn the proper way to do a deadlift!