Our lives are full of so many things that pull us in a million different directions – family, friends, work, and hobbies to name a few. Hectic schedules and competing demands create stress and cause both physical and emotional tolls on our bodies, not to mention our minds. To combat the negative undertones of our daily routines, we must find ways to overcome the negative side effects of what we call life. For some, that may amount to a full glass of wine at the end of the night while for others it may be comfort foods or a good hour or so of tv or even reading. For me, it is fitness in all of its different forms – the gym, yoga, dancing, you name it. I have found that the gym brings me mental clarity and peace, both of which are needed when you are a busy working mom of two young boys.
I would be lying if I said that our lives are constantly on the up and up and that there are never moments of darkness or sadness. But let’s be honest, we all know that that isn’t true. Life is full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, stress and tranquility. Harmony in our existence has both a yin and a yang. It is all about how you cope with the roller coaster of life that either makes you happy or sad, stressed or chill. And as we get older, sometimes the things we turn to to find that balance is either good or bad for us. I recommend that you find a good habit to turn to, but what that habit entails is completely up to you. I won’t push my “drug” of choice on you, but I will vouch for it and share my opinion as to why I turn to it for moments of “me-time” and the benefits it has brought to my life.
Growing up as a child, we were often full of energy, constantly on the go, constantly playing with friends or ourselves. We laughed often, smiled constantly, and found joy in the littlest of things. We were constantly on the move, so much so that our parents would often ask us to calm down. However, as we have aged, we often lost some of that spunk, some of that energy, some of that vibrancy. Why not reclaim some of that joy in the form of fitness where we can grow physically and mentally? Where we can be confident in knowing that we are doing something good for our mind, heart, soul and body?
Working out has become a passion of mine. It allows me to reconnect with myself, to push the “mute” button on everything else that is going on in my life. My brain is able to turn off the outside noise (though some days it doesn’t do it so well) and simply focus on the task at hand. Pushing myself physically has taught me just how strong and capable my body and mind are when put to the test. I have learned how to use my physical strength as an asset – for example, on those days where nothing seems to be going my way, whether at work or with my kids, I can go to the gym and “run it out” or “rep it out” thereby pushing some of those negative toxins out of my body. By the time I am done, I have increased the positive vibes in my system and have a clearer mindset for the rest of my day. In all honesty, have you ever left the gym after a workout and regretted it (forget those days where you are sore or tired!)?
Furthermore, the physical and physiological changes my body has taken on from my workouts has further compounded my desire to remain physically fit. Playing with my kids, coaching their basketball teams, feeling full of energy are just a few of the “side effects” of my “drug” of choice. Self-confidence and self-awareness have also been a by-product of my alone time. My health has also greatly improved and my level of engagement at work and at home is off the charts. The only negatives I have endured from this “crazy hobby” as some may call it, is feeling sore some days! Other then that, I never leave the gym and think to myself, “what a waste of time.” Quite the opposite is true – I always leave the gym happy with myself and ready to conquer the day.
Whatever your outlet of choice is, ask yourself the following questions: does it make you feel good, mentally and physically? does it de-stress your life, or does it yo-yo with your emotions? does it bring you a feeling of self-pride and accomplishment? would you recommend it to someone else that you love and respect? Hopefully you answered yes to all of the questions, because if you did, then congratulations, you have found something to help you counter the negative effects of the stress we deal with on a daily basis. Keep it up and I hope you continue to see the fruits of your labor!