Battling Anxiety Through Fitness
I want to start with a disclaimer. I am by no means saying your workouts will cure your anxiety or that if you start working out you should stop taking any medication. Please don't do that unless you speak with your doctor. This post is meant to explain how it helps ME!
There are times where my anxiety is stronger than other times. Some days I am upbeat and feel like I can tackle the world while others are spent in fear of the "what ifs". Anxiety manifests itself differently in different people, for me it's fear. That fear than goes on to play horrible tricks on my mind which turns into panic and yes sometimes anger and rage. I have lashed out on people I love and then regretted it after and I honestly hate that feeling most of all.
However you handle anxiety, or if you don't suffer from anxiety just regular old stress, you need to find an outlet. You are going to have bad days, bad moments, bad weeks! Burrowing into bed can't be the only way you deal. So how do you do it? I've tried tons of things. I've meditated, I've started a journal, I've read books, but none of them ever stuck fully. I still do those things but not enough that it helps me to calm my mind. For me what works the most is an intense workout!
I am not one of those people who wakes up excitedly at 4am and get my workout in. Let's be clear I don't wake up at 4am at all unless one of my kids are crying and even then it's usually my husband who gets up! I am not a morning person and I desperately need sleep. Many times I don't look forward to working out. I'd much rather relax from the chaos of my day, ya know working mom with a 3 and 5 year old lol! I know though that after I push myself to complete that workout that I am going to feel better. I find myself being more positive and can more easily handle my stresses. That workout is my outlet. It is a time for me to be distracted from my thoughts. I do not have time to think of my anxiety or fear while trying to lift something heavy. My mind gets to rest while my body pushes itself! That hour is my time. I have no other responsibilities during it, I just focus on whatever workout I'm doing that day. I get so focused on the job at hand that 90% of my workouts I don't even have music playing. My brain just focuses on nothing but that workout, and the occasional toddler asking for a snack!
This is what works for me. I am an easily distracted person and find often that my mind wonders during meditation and reading. I constantly have to pull myself back from wondering thoughts. I love both of those things but I don't always get the mental rest I need during them. Finding this outlet was huge for me. It was something I could focus on. I tend to do better when I have tasks to do, again it distracts me from my thoughts.
I want to give you a challenge and I really hope you do it. I want you to start making a list of things you can try to do for YOU! Giving yourself time is extremely important and I know as a mom we tend to put ourselves last. You need to start putting yourself first. You will be better equipped to care for others when you first care for yourself. So what is it going to be? Are you going to try reading or writing or going for a walk. Whatever you can think of that makes sense for YOU! I want to hear about it. I want to hear about what you tried and what worked and didn't work! You got this!