Monday, 18 February 2019

Mental Health And Exercise

I did it again.
Another impromptu hiatus which is becoming a clear reoccurrence on the books that are my life. And whilst I committed to writing more content this year, I found myself sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs and browsing dog videos on the ‘gram instead.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have any content, it was just that when I started, I ended up drawing a blank halfway through and thinking, does anywhere actually care if I’m cutting meat consumption down? Or whether my new trainers were snazzy enough (side note : they are)?
I constantly feel an overarching sense of pressure when it comes to my life, I naturally try to overachieve regardless of the situation or scenario, which often results in me feeling dejected and frustrated when things don’t go just right.

This, in turn has pushed me on in to a feeling of “well I won’t bother today, because I’m not going to be very good so not point starting”. I didn’t connect all of this feelings until I read an article about catching yourself every time you say something negative about yourself internally and instead saying two good things about yourself. Initially, I struggled to think of anything but since it was internalised, I decided to start rattling through the things that I thought were possibly true : I am kind,  I am polite, I am caring, I am funny (if you like poor dad jokes) and I am compassionate. Most of all, I am worthy.

The problem is, is I know exercise is good for the brain, because after I’ve gone on a run or been to a class I do feel genuinely better, but it’s the initial drag of getting in to the gym or getting my trainers on to run that is my stumbling block. I don’t need to preach to you about the benefits of exercise on your mental health, but what I will say is it’s damned hard to think about anything other than your breathing when you’re slogging your way up a steep hill on hill sprints which see you gasping for air when you hit the summit, followed by exhilaration and the smug “hey I just did that” the follows.
I am trying to be kinder to myself this month, and the positive reinforcements have definitely been helping which is now, in turn, seeing me sticking my running trainers on and going for my first run this evening since falling a few weeks ago (snazzy trainers slightly less snazzy covered in mud), and I am forcing myself to focus on my breathing and just my breathing.

We spend a lot of time in our own heads, especially when we are perfectionists, but does anyone care or even notice if you have a slight trip up in a presentation or quite literally when you’re walking for the bus? Does anyone care if your lunch isn’t #InstagramWorthy whilst you devour it at your desk whilst browsing city breaks and gossip columns? The answer is no, but we live in a consumer society where we are told we need to improve ourselves because companies make a profit off of it. I don’t buy in to Skinny Teas / Coffees / lattes / pancakes, as I’d rather not be sat on the toilet all day (this girl has business to attend to) , but I do definitely buy in to the hype of ‘age defying’ skin creams, serums and remedies (getting worse by the year as I edge closer to 30).

February is going to be my month of rediscovery on what it’s like to be kind to myself, as god only knows that is missing around here. I have made a conscious effort to go to two gym classes a week, but I am not piling on the pressure to go five days a week. I am eating sensibly, but I am not chucking everything in an app to see what my fat % is, and I am definitely not stepping on a set of scales for the foreseeable. February – let’s go.
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