How The Gym Affected My Mental Health

How The Gym Affected My Mental Health

 

This isn’t really the kind of post I normally write, but it’s something that’s helped me BIG TIME, so I thought why not share it since it’s World Mental Health Day and it might help someone else in the same boat feel that wee bit better?

 

As someone who’s struggled over the years with depression and anxiety I’ve heard the same record over and over: ‘eat healthy, sleep more, exercise’, and honestly, I was fed up of it and didn’t even think any of it would even help. I genuinely just believed that these people who ate right, exercised right, and slept right, didn’t actually exist, and if they did, were only truly ‘happier’ because they weren’t carrying a spare tyre or two like I was. But I found that really isn’t the case at all. By sheer chance I won a gym membership through a Facebook competition and that was the start of my progress. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, the first time I stepped into the new gym I was terrified and so so self-conscious I can’t explain! It’s strange really, as an ex-gymnast and someone who used to go to the gym in my early teens it seemed crazy how scared and unsure of the gym I was. I started going to the gym about 3-5 times a week for a workout, or an exercise class, or a PT session, and after a few weeks the dread of going to the gym subsided and I started seeing results which I didn’t think I would which motivated me even more!

 

Eating healthy with the occasional ‘treat’ (or ten) while working out has made such a positive effect on my mental health and I feel much happier within myself, I don’t know if it’s because of all the ‘sciencey stuff’ like seratonin that all the doctors and magazines tell you is released when you’re working your ass off on that treadmill, but what I do know is it’s done wonders for my general mood and my sleep. I tend to feel that on my down days when I don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished much, if I go to the gym and do even half an hour, I feel so much more positive and better within myself. I always was conscious that people were looking at me in the gym because I presumed they could tell I didn’t know what I was doing, they would laugh at the way I looked, or would think that my efforts were pathetic, but honestly that’s not the case at all. Nobody really gives a shit what you’re doing in the gym so for anyone that was like me and the thought of the gym made them feel sick, just go for it and you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about!

 

It’s super important to look after your mental health and not to let everything pile up. So if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps find a pal and go for a coffee; watch one of your fave films and pamper yourself with a face mask; or even just go out for a walk or a run to clear the cobwebs. On that note, one of my main goals for 2019 is definitely to focus on self-care, it shouldn’t be an indulgence, it’s a necessity.

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