exercise and mental health
Exercise has always been like therapy for me. I remember in high school when I was feeling frustrated and needed to vent anger or frustration. I would go for huge runs around the block. It would always help and make me feel better. Exercise has been a huge part of life, whether it was playing chasey with my cousins in the yard or whether it was juggling the 10 billion sports I used to sign myself up for. It went from Athletics, Soccer, Netball, AFL, Basketball, no matter what sport it was. I was doing it. There was this time once I played competitive squash Ha-ha.
As I got older and responsibility got bigger. I had to limit which sport I would play, So I stuck with AFL and this where the passion of going to the gym came. I was 18 when I got my first Gym Membership at Goodlife. I would run/walk 30 minutes to the gym, do a full workout and walk or run back. At that time, I had no idea what I was doing in the gym, but I had seen a couple of people doing particular exercises and would just copy them, I had a few mates who were PT’s who would give me some great exercises too and that’s all that I would do. Just repeat them over and over. After a while I noticed some changes in my body and loved it. I felt good and I loved my body. I was playing some good footy and my Mental Health was great. I first realised exercise was a huge factor in maintaining my Mental Health when I couldn’t exercise. November 2017 I was playing a Rugby League game and I broke my collarbone. They say your collarbone is the second most painful bone to break but in this moment. I didn’t cry because of the pain, I remember only getting upset when the nurse told me I wouldn’t be able to play and go back to full contact sport after 5 months. Speaking to a surgeon, he told we could let it heal naturally or have surgery where they put a plate over it. He said most girls don’t like to have surgery because it leaves a scar, but surgery is the best option. I didn’t even think twice about the scar!!!! A week later I had surgery on it to put a titanium plate and 7 screws.
On the road to recovery, I couldn’t exercise, the rehab process was long, and it really started to impact on my mental health. I felt sad and not exercising really challenged in how I could stimulate myself mentally because I couldn’t physically. I moped around the house, doing my rehab but found it so difficult. I would get frustrated easily, moody at my friends and family and I couldn’t help it.
I remember My friend gifted me this book about holistic health and as I started reading it. I found it so interesting. I would read books about mindfulness, yoga, health and anything I could get my hands on. This is where I first was introduced into meditation. I remember trying to meditate in high school during a camp workshop but failed, coz I couldn’t stay still for long enough but when you’re recovering from surgery, you immediately learn how to stay still. So, I meditated daily from then on. I found great peace and serenity around just tuning out for 20-30minutes and started to find a love for how it made me feel. I soon realised that it was all affiliated. All my rehab was done at Goodlife Gym. I had amazing trainers who helped me kick some goals in bouncing back with the upcoming AFL Season. I was at the gym everyday whether it was resistance, weight or just swimming (this is the best bit about having a Goodlife Gym Membership) The pool! This has been a huge recovery component to playing sport. I currently train with a PT at Goodlife and he has been a loyal member at my Goodlife for several years. He gets me looking forward to my workouts! And is a huge part in me staying consistent!
What I learnt is It wasn’t just the physical part of exercising that helped me, it was the part of tuning out for 30-45minutes and not think, just in my own world and that part was the part that connected me. Now knowing how important it is to take care of your physical health AND your Mental Health I encourage others to do so too and know how important with my own experience of deep sadness and isolation that I am so appreciative of my friends and family that ensure they were checking in to see how I was recovering and how I was doing and that a simple gift or sharing awareness and knowledge can encourage someone.
So being an Ambassador for RUOK has been a part of that journey! It encourages me to share with people about how they can have that conversation or ensuring we check in and importantly follow up with family and friends, to what could potentially save someone’s life.
Love and light, Love B xxxxxxx