This time of year people often experience a dip in their energy levels. It's a hard time of year for people to avoid using food to pick themselves up from their lows, like a way to stuff away the blues. We all turn to different activities to self medicate from whatever is bugging us. It can range from food, sex, cigarettes, booze or even just a thought process that provides us with a dopamine jolt.
When I was 15 I started using exercise to pick myself from the stress and anxiety of growing up in an insecure and tumultuous household. It was my go to drug of choice for picking myself, even temporarily from the downs I would feel from being in a household I didn't feel like a fit. Always being told I was too sensitive, had to grow a tougher skin or being coached that I overreacted to unpredictable rages and sometimes even violence. The only time I felt totally free of my pain was when I was kicking my legs up in the air during old school high impact aerobics. The environment of Fitco, my club of choice, also made me feel like I belonged somewhere. I felt light and alive.
Even though these highs were temporary, I thank my lucky stars that I had the wisdom to turn to these activities and this positive community oriented environment to feel good. I did take this too far as some points in my life. Using exercise too much, being obsessive compulsive about exercise and not listening to when I had over done it.
Not all teenagers or not all people for that matter are as lucky as I have been to find something non-destructive to medicate themselves with. Many people find much less healthy methods to keep depression and anxiety at bay. My passion for fitness comes from my own personal experience with how it has saved me at many different points in my life.
I urge anyone who knows that exercise will help them particularly as the days get shorter and the urge to hibernate and overeat kicks in. We all know exercise is good for us. We are assaulted with the knowledge that we should be doing better at taking care of ourselves.
But if we can let go of the idea that we have to do it perfectly, get 5 workouts in a week, achieve the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week and just focus on doing something even small, certainly the tide in our lives will shift and we can slowly propel ourselves into forward motion towards picking ourselves up with something so obviously beneficial to us.
I could list the benefits exercise to brain chemistry like better serotonin uptake, the feel good chemicals that act like natural heroin in our brain, the feeling of vitality in moving our bodies the way they we were designed to be used, increased sex drive due to increased testosterone levels not to mention improved body image. We all know this by now no?
It's just about taking the first scary step into perhaps an unfamiliar gym or even dragging your ass down to the beach in your parka for a long walk. My most important piece of advice is to choose an environment for your brave step forward that makes you feel connected with nature or people. Find somewhere you can move be it gym or the outdoors that makes you feel lighter where you can exhale your stress and let go of your worries.
This comes from my heart and soul. I don't know where I would be today if I hadn't lucked out back when I was fifteen. I know I can get blue in the winter. I know I couldn't be relatively grounded or a glass half full person for most of the time if I didn't move my body.
Just take the first step and keep finding the inner discipline to do little things that make you feel better, not worse.
I know from first hand experience working with hundreds of people that exercise can be the flotation device we need during a storm and that it can even propel you forward in a new life direction.
Focaccia Five Ways
1 day ago