Redirect That Stress
I'm learning how to use exercise to gain freedom from my anxiety.
Anxiety has been a major player in my life for years.
As a kid, I remember being afraid that my parents would forget to pick me up after school. Had they ever done that? NOPE. But my anxiety was telling me that I should be worried about it. In college I was worried that I would be putting in loads of hard work and not amount to anything. Has this been the case? Again, not at all. And all my life people would tell me that exercise will help. If you're stressed, just go for a run. Just a side note about me, I loathe running. Not only does it hurt my back but it just isn't fun. Like, not at all.
So I think I always knew that exercise would help me deal with stress & anxiety and put my mind in a better place. But did I do it? No. For the longest time, I couldn't even get myself to the gym. Then in my early 20's I finally made it to the gym. Ready to go in my cute leggings and tank top set...but I had no idea how to workout. I was scared of looking dumb, so I never pushed myself. And because I never pushed myself I never felt the positivity that came with a good workout.
Then my world changed. In the summer of 2020 I was laid-off. I suddenly found myself with all the time in the world to improve myself and learn how to cope with what has been the most stressful time in my life. But what did I do? I watched Netflix and Hulu. I slept for large portions of my days. I allowed myself to be sad and mad. I let myself do this for longer than I should have & it was months before I could pull myself together and move over that very large bump in the road.
On January 4th of 2021 I started a new job and decided that was going to be the start of a healthier lifestyle too. A friend and I committed to going to the gym together at least 3 days per week. And to be honest with you, I thought that would only last a month like it usually did. And I knew I needed to push myself to see actual results.
And you know what?
After about 2 months of working out multiple days a week, I was starting to understand why everyone throughout my life told me to get active. I was happier, had a more positive outlook and had SO much more energy.
Don't get me wrong, I totally had those days where I would eat a big bag of cheddar & sour cream chips and fall asleep while watching One Tree Hill. But those days were much more scarce than they used to be.
I used to think that people who regularly went to the gym or had active lifestyles just had something different inside of them. That they just loved going for runs or lifting weights or whatever. I also thought that if I felt stressed, I could go to the gym for a half hour and it was supposed to magically make me feel better. Now I know that I was so so wrong.
It's not the act of just simply going to the gym. It's about getting into a routine and creating positive moments in your day-to-day life; not just when you're anxious or stressed. Hitting the gym when I'm having a great day makes me feel even better and helps me associate positivity with the gym. This has made it so much easier to get myself up and moving on those icky days where I just want to hide under a blanket.
I wish I would have realized all of this earlier, but I am so excited that I'm finally on a path to set me free from my anxiety.