Just why am I doing this again?
Spoiler alert: this is another introspective mental health one...
As I was out running this evening, after a full-on day, feeling half-knackered before I even started, I actually asked myself out loud - "why am I even doing this?". Why was I trying to fit yet another thing into a crazy Monday? Why wasn't I at home leisurely making dinner? When was relaxing even going to start?
But then I thought about one of the events in my crazy day, which was intense, but very rewarding, and that reminded me.
Earlier today I spoke to one of my colleagues' classes. It is a Health class and they are looking at resilience in the face of challenging health circumstances. So I was speaking to them about my series of miscarriages before we managed to find the small people, and then my post-natal depression afterwards. Like I said, pretty intense, both for me, but I suspect also for the poor year 12s who had no idea what was about to drop on them.
One of my strategies for being resilient is to talk about the issues openly, because too much of society doesn't, which makes it really hard for people to go through. I felt that at the time and it is still important to me now.
But one of my other strategies particularly for dealing with the post-natal, which I discussed with that class, is to exercise. As I said to them, I still have post-natal now, probably as something I will have to manage for the rest of my life. Time for myself as well as the endorphins that come from exercise are both hugely important to me; take those away and I rapidly have a sense of humour failure that is not nice to be around.
And I was glad that I came to that conclusion, because I was wondering, when I asked myself what I was doing, whether I was doing it for myself, or because the health and fitness gig is just another thing that society expects of women.
Speaking with that class earlier today about how society places pressure on you as a woman to be a mother, and how hard it is when that doesn't happen the way it is supposed to, and then how hard work it is to be a mother when the small people do arrive, and that societal pressure makes you feel that motherness should be natural, and why the hell isn't it for me... And how even now, with the small people being medium-sized, I still question my good motherness when the blue small person shouts at me and so I shout back... (If this paragraph doesn't make sense, I wouldn't be even vaguely surprised, just roll with it)
I was actually wondering whether being out there today was just another example of that insidious pressure to be that woman that does everything. I do believe there are some that can manage it - I am not one of them.
Which is all a very roundabout way of saying:
- Do exercise because you want to. And say that sentence twice - the first time emphasise the word "you", and the second time emphasise the word "want". Both of those emphases are equally important.
- Remember that exercise is as much about mental health as it is about physical, and in so many ways, if the mental side of things isn't working for you, the physical won't sort itself out either.
- Know what is right for you, and know too, that what is right for you is personal and no-one else can tell you what that is. They might be able to make suggestions, but no-one else can make those decisions for you.
- Enjoy it. The only way exercise can have a positive effect, either mental or physical, is if you like what you are doing. Don't follow the latest fad just because everyone else is. But feel free to follow it even if you are the most unlikely person, if it's fun. (I have another colleague in mind here, who has just started cross-fit, and is the last person most of us at work might have thought would do it).
- Know your why. And remind yourself of it. That's a far more powerful motivator than any goals or external events.
And so I enjoyed my run.
As always, comments are welcome.
#healthandfitness #reasonablyfit #mentalhealth #hpsschool #knowyourwhy