I returned to the gym last week after 3 years away (and it’s probably been 4 or 5 years since I was there to exercise due to my ongoing health roller-coaster!).
It wasn’t an impulse decision to go back. I had been toying with the idea since July – but didn’t want to be indoors when I could get out on my paddleboard over the summer.
I was in the shower and made the decision, then didn’t want to think about it too much, or I would have found an excuse to delay for longer (with the weather recently I haven’t been able to get out paddleboarding).
But I felt very anxious about going, and rather than doing what I usually do and putting a brave face on. I acknowledged how I felt and shared how I was feeling with Kris (massive step for me!) and made him drive us there.
I felt like I was on the brink of a panic attack all the way there. My hands were shaking filling in the membership form!
But I used breathing techniques I teach my clients. I was kind to myself rather that beating myself up for being ridiculous.
I took it slow, kept things light, had lots of rests, focused on my breath and kept hydrated (anxiety really makes you thirsty – and you need to keep the Lymph system hydrated to flush out all the excess hormones you are releasing).
Yesterday (Tuesday) was World Mental Health Day. I want to reassure you that feeling anxious is perfectly normal, it’s a human experience. Suppression (of any of your emotions) is harmful both mentally and physically.
Keep in mind that wallowing and hiding behind anxiety is also harmful. This is where working with a therapist is really useful.
If you are a sensitive person, know that having a hypervigelant nervous system isn’t fun. You can feel like you are taking on everyone else’s energy and your reactions to things can feel out of control.
Looking after, nourishing your nervous system is vital… Not only to deal with anxiety, but also to help your body heal. If you don’t want to work with a therapist or don’t feel ready to just yet (and that is totally okay), I teach tools and techniques in The Healing Rebel Mastery programme. Check out the details here >>> www.iamjenwilson.com/heal
There are several reasons I wanted to get back to the gym.
1. I want to be as strong as I can, so when/if I go into another flare, or have to get any operations, I am as strong and resilient as I can be. Studying sports & exercise science taught me that you want the body to be as strong as possible going into the event so you recover better, faster and can cope with the event better… Now, when I was at uni, I was thinking of sporting events and living well in life. Not for one second did I consider that I would be living with chronic health issues, and this is even MORE relevant. If you are living with a health condition, I would really encourage you to do what you can to improve your physical strength and well-being in the windows of better health. Reach out if you need help with this. firstname.lastname@example.org
2. I learned just last year that I am someone who is high-functioning with anxiety. The survival techniques and coping mechanisms that I had adopted through life weren’t ‘healthy’ or, as my therapist said, ‘you know that’s not normal’ when I told her some of the things I do/say to myself. These techniques I adopted were generating huge amounts of stress in my body, which likely contributed to my health conditions in a negative way. Exercising burns off excess energy which can present as anxiety.
I actively encourage people to try therapy to help, I have included a few people I can recommend reaching out to if it’s something you want to explore.
3. Women are at much higher risk of osteoporosis due to the hormonal changes we go through during menopause. Building strong bones and muscles as early as you can is vital… But it’s never too late to start.
4. Women over the age of 30 lose 3-8% of muscle per decade, and even higher over the age of 65… Use it or lose it… and you don’t need to go into the gym and lift big heavy weights to slow the process down (Pilates, walking, swimming etc will help too)… You need to find the thing you enjoy, then do it regularly!
5. I need to get out the house and see people in real life, interact with humans not just through a screen.
Therapists I Recommend
Jacq Munro – Jacq does EFT/Tapping, talk therapies, hynosis and a host of other things, you can work with her online of from her home treatment room in Maryhill. Check out Jacq www.jacqmunro.com
Barbara McDonald – Barbara works with people experiencing depression & anxiety. You can go to Psychology Today for a full profile https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/counselling/barbara-macdonald-glasgow-sct/487502 or contact her by email on email@example.com or sending a text to 07887810455
Karen Lafferty – Karen specialises in grief & loss. She shares some excellent information on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/continuumcounselling and all details are on her website https://continuumcounselling.com/
Laura Brown – Laura offers CBT, mindfulness, compassion-focused therapy and more. You can go to Psychology Today for a full profile https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/counselling/laura-brown-glasgow-sct/1191580