Exercise and my Mental Health

Guess who's back, back again?
Fuelled by my new found anger towards Apple and all their shitty overpriced products putting a temporary stop to my super successful blogging career! Haha, a girl can dream!

However in the short time I've been away I feel like I've completely changed my life; for the better.

I have never been one to do any kind of exercise. I was the kid that was 'always on a super heavy period' or 'left their PE kit at home' so couldn't possibly take part. I have always been slim, I used to get called an 'Ethiopian' at school! So i never thought I needed to do exercise. I'm still not huge, so I carried on eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted and never doing any exercise...because I didn't need to lose weight.

But recently I had been feeling just generally down; tired, sluggish and my anxiety had taken over. I was sitting at work and yawning for 10 hours straight, falling asleep in the afternoons, short tempered with the kids and for the first time ended up on medication for my anxiety. After a couple of blood tests confirming everything was completely normal, I started to look for alternative reasons.

I first looked at my diet.

I thought I was fairly healthy...Until one day when I wrote down a list of everything I had eaten. Turns out Belgian Buns aren't a great way to start the day and share size chocolate is exactly that, FOR SHARING! Who knew! 

So I did a hell of a lot of Pinteresting (on my phone, obviously, not my dead laptop!) for healthy meal ideas and ordered everything I needed from Tesco.com. I have completely cut out red meat (this is purely for my own reasoning because of my dodgy tummy!) I have cut out the majority of snacks but if I am feeling a little hungry I have a cupboard full of rice cakes and homemade fruity flapjack. I have been having porridge topped with fruit for breakfast (still think it tastes rank but I'm persevering because I know its better for me than cake!) Stopping eating share size bars of chocolate in the evenings has been the hardest part. I'm a girl of routine! And I've been eating Cadbury Marvellous creations after the kids have gone to bed every night for the past 4 years! It's been a tough few weeks but I'm still going!

Surprisingly, something that has come much easier to me has been the exercise and it's definitely had the biggest impact. I started off small, just taking the dog for longer walks. I then invested in some Lycra and trainers just so I looked and felt the part haha! After a long pep talk I convinced myself to go for a run. I popped in my earphones and listening to a Fern Cotton podcast, went for my first ever run. Obviously I thought I was dying and wouldn't make it home but what came next is the part that shocked me. When I got home I was buzzing! Hyperactive, productive and talkative! I could't wait to go again! Who is this person? Wheres the real Amy!

My confidence has always been non-existent. And yes initially I felt like a complete Twat running. What if people see me or worse, what if people laugh at me? But once that buzz kicked in I didn't care at all what people thought. What mattered was that I felt good! I'm sure exercise and drugs must come under the same category?

I had been talking to colleagues at work for weeks about joining the gym and going to fitness classes (something which I have never done) and still nothing had come of it. So i decided to take the plunge and booked a Spin class at my local gym. I had a dodgy tummy all day because I was so nervous and very nearly chickened out but I did it! Approx 4 mins into the spin class I wanted to give up, my legs couldn't physically do it but somehow I made it to the end of the 45 min class. Yes I didn't do it exactly as I was supposed to, I was sitting down when the instructor was shouting to stand up, and on level 8 when she was shouting level 14! But I did it! And that shit is hard!! I was there, I was at a fitness class all by myself because I wanted to do it for me. 

Since then I've been to Legs Bums and Tums class (I am absolutely awful at it! With no co-ordination what so ever, you can guarantee I'm going the opposite way to everyone else and by the time I've figured out what move I'm meant to be doing they are already onto their next one!) But it's so much fun and I was definitely feeling it the next day! I've also been to yoga which I absolutely loved and hope to attend every week.

I've learnt something about exercise. It's not just for people who are overweight, its not just for people that that want to be super fit. It's for everyone and definitely improves your mental health! My confidence has never been this good, and I have completely stopped taking my medication (slowly and with instructions from the Dr obviously) Doctors should be handing out gym trial sessions or a pair or running shoes, not pills like they're smarties! I've caught the bug and spent my life savings on gym wear! Not quite my life savings but that stuffs EXPENSIVE! It doesn't need to be though! With no disposable income just put on your trainers and walk or run, its free and so soo good for you physically and mentally!

And guess what?! I've not been napping in the afternoons, I've been more productive and my tummy has been a whole lot less dodgy! So thank you Apple! Thank you for taking all my money and selling me a shit laptop. Thank you for giving me extra hours in the day as I'm now not glued to said laptop. And thank you to Acer for saving the day so I can search for beautiful running trainers :D

Disclaimer: I am in no way actually grateful to Apple 

Amy Harmon x


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