Why I Fell Out Of Love With Fitness & Why I'm Ok With It
For years, going to the gym was such a big part of my life. It was something that I truly fell in love with, which is never something I expected to happen as for so long I hated exercise. At school, I used to dread P.E and would find any reason not to do it so when I got into the middle of my twenties and found myself regularly going to the gym it was a shock to the system. But this year I felt a change at the gym and between moving house and getting a dog I've really fallen off the fitness wagon and I'm actually really ok with that and here's why...
WHY I LOVED THE GYM SO MUCH
Considering how much I used to hate any type of fitness it was a real surprise that going to the gym made me so happy. But it really did, moving around and doing things with my body was something that I never thought I'd be able to do as for so long of battling with my physical health. And even though it was hard on me physically the release that it gave my brain was incredible, for a long time I'd struggled with my mental health and unknowingly not really known just how serious things were. And as soon as I started moving my body around and those endorphins got to work I felt really good, the best I'd felt in a really long time. It wasn't just how good it felt either, to me it was self-care and looking after my body in a way that I hadn't for a really long time. It also meant I was getting out of the house, which is something that is so important when you work from home. Exercise never felt like a chore to me which I think is something that so many people feel and it's not hard to understand why as we treat exercise like it should be a punishment, not something we can enjoy and treat everyone who does like they've lost their minds.
WHEN IT BECAME A WORRY
In around March and April, I felt myself start to fall out of love with exercise and going to the gym. And because it was something that I'd relied on for such a long time I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to cope with my mental health issues without it. As I've never had any luck with medication or therapy I've had to find other ways to keep things at a liveable level and going to the gym was something that really worked for me. And I was scared that if I stopped going my mind would become unmanageable but because I wasn't finding much joy in it anymore it left me feeling a little confused. Around this time we also got Josie so I didn't have the time to go to the gym anyway but my mind definitely felt the strain of not exercising and not really being able to leave the house and I was at a real low point. As the time passed as well as being able to take Josie out I felt a shift, it was slow but my mind started to deal with things in a different way and it was such a relief that I didn't need to go to the gym to feel ok. I felt such a huge amount of guilt that I wasn't going but it seemed pointless to go when I knew it wasn't something that was bringing me the same joy as it once did.
IT'S OK NOT LOVE FITNESS ALL THE TIME
When I started to realise that I wasn't loving fitness anymore and getting the same amount of enjoyment from it I tried everything I could think of to stick with it. No matter what I did nothing seemed to stick and I got the point where I had the realisation that it's ok that I'm not getting enjoyment from the gym. I'm still moving around so much on a daily basis because I walk Josie every day and doing that is what brings me so much joy and that is helping my mental health so much right now. Whilst the fitness movement on Instagram is really awesome for breaking down those perfect barriers about the whole fitness thing sometimes I do find it a little problematic. No-one ever seems to really talk about going through a lull with fitness or when it stops working for you in the way that it once did. And that it's totally ok, we don't have to love it all the time or we're a failure of a human because fitness should be something that we love and get real joy from. It should never be a chore or something we feel obliged to do.
AND WHAT I'M DOING RIGHT NOW
So I've not been to the gym consistently since around April and that was a whole 6 months ago so here are the things that I'm doing instead;
- Being kind to my mind and finding different coping mechanisms.
- Getting outside daily for a walk.
- Stretching a lot, more than I ever did before when I wasgoing to the gym and my limbs are very thankful for it.
- Reminding myself daily that it's ok to not love fitness right now and that time off is ok.
- Enjoying a different time in my life where my priorities are different.
I'd love to know what your relationship with fitness is like