30 Jan 2017
Guest Blog - My Health & Well being Journey
The thought of the gym, or any kind of exercise to be precise, has always left me feeling anxious. I find the whole ‘gym thing’ very intimidating and always thought I could get away without exercising as long as I walked a bit a couple of times a week.
Fast forward one child, a few years and too many takeaways and I have a very big predicament in that I don’t like what I see in the mirror anymore. Everything seems to have gotten wider and I for one am not happy. That being said, it isn’t for my body that I decided to join the gym, it is for my mind.
Having suffered depression and anxiety most of my life, I went through a particularly bad spell in 2015 and hit rock bottom. However, in 2016 I was determined to sort myself out, long story short I changed the way I dealt with depression and faced it head on. I stopped taking pills and went for counselling, I practiced (and still do) CBT, I was honest with everyone around me about what was going on whereas previously, I always hid that I suffered depression because I was ashamed. Basically, I stopped being afraid and started dealing with it.
It is by no means easy but each step no matter how small, is a step further in the right direction.
My new year’s resolution this year was to simply be happier, more content and put myself first a bit more. I have never liked what I saw in the mirror no matter what I have worn, what weight I have been or what hairstyle I’ve had and that had to change. There is only one me after all and I have to live with her whether I like it or not!
I also wanted to face my anxiety and do more that scares me which is where joining the gym comes in. GULP. I get so anxious about gyms because I feel I don’t belong there and that everyone around me knows it. The thing with anxiety is it places a seed of doubt or self consciousness in your head and then lets it roll. Before I was aware I was even thinking this way I let my thoughts of doubt rule my life but now I don’t.
When I joined the gym, I was excited and happy. I really wanted to make this positive change for myself in order to like what I see in the mirror and boost my mood or fight any dark spells I may suffer. We all know that exercise boosts endorphins and for me, it is fast becoming the best medication I could ever take. If you’re stressed, tense or even a bit unwell a jog on the treadmill or a go on the cross trainer will make you feel a hell of a lot better. Had a bad day at work or going through a stressful period in your life? Have a swim and you will feel a lot better for it. It doesn’t perform miracles and solve problems but being more active physically and mentally will benefit you greatly.
Now that I focus on the mental benefits of the gym, I enjoy it and don’t feel pressured. I just go in there with my headphones, listen to some music and enjoy the time to myself. I don’t get too much of it these days! I am eating better than I have done in a long time and making sure I look after my wellbeing by having more ‘me time’ too.
So if you want to join the gym but feel a bit daunted, don’t just think of the physical benefits you will gain from going, think of the mental ones too. Don’t put yourself under any pressure to perform a certain way either just go there and do what suits you, I just enjoy being more active now especially in the evenings. Before we used to do the same thing every night: eat dinner, bedtime routine for our daughter, sit on the sofa and fall asleep in front of the TV but now we are more active. Now we cherish those lazy evenings falling asleep in front of the TV now rather than feeling it is all we do and that life is passing us by.
This is just the start of my health and wellbeing journey, I still have weight to lose and am still getting used to making fitness part of my everyday life but I am determined to stick with it and push myself to go. It will take as long as it takes though and as long as I am happy in 2017, I will feel I have accomplished my goal.