Every morning at 5:40 am my alarm goes off. As I hurry to turn it off before it wakes my husband I begin the process of rationalizing my “need” to go back to sleep. “You are too tired today,” “Your sleep will make you feel so much better,” “You deserve to stay in bed another hour,” “You can do this tomorrow,” blah, blah, blah. The commitment to wake up an hour or two before my family is not the “fun” choice by any means. So why do I do it? Because Mommy needs to go to the gym.
Now lets stop right there. When I say I “need” to go to the gym it has nothing to do with my physical appearance. If you had asked me in college why I went to the gym my answer probably would have had something to do with my looks. But now, no way. When my 4-year-old is up early and asks me why I have to go to the gym the reason is clear, “So Mommy can be happy today.” And its true. The mental benefits I get from exercising 6 days a week far outrank the affect it has on the outward appearance of my body. Is the body boost a plus? Heck yeah, but it isn’t the priority anymore.
As a mom of one, two, or twelve kids you know that your life focus has shifted to be all about the little ones you are trying to keep alive and your own needs are an afterthought. But whatever your life circumstances, working mom, stay home mom, work at home mom, or maybe you aren’t even a mom yet, you NEED to have something for you. My something is the gym.
The research on the benefits of exercise on our physical and mental health is clear. Whatever your struggle, chances are regular exercise can help it. The type of exercise will obviously need to be personalized but what matters is that you MOVE your body. Nothing in the Universe happens, no progress is made, until something moves. Have you ever felt like you are Ron Burgundy stuck in a glass cage of emotion? I have, and I have a solution for you! Go DO something and move your body…and do it outside if at all possible.
The Mayo Clinic has published research about the benefits exercise has on mental health.
“Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety.”
Other benefits of exercise on depression and anxiety include:
Releases feel-good endorphins
Takes your mind off worries
Helps you gain confidence
Allows you an opportunity for more social interaction (with non-children I might add..)
Helps you cope in a healthy way (I am an emotional eater…not a healthy coping strategy)
After my first daughter was born I experienced postpartum due to a sudden shift into mommyhood I didn’t quite feel ready for combined with hormone imbalance. Some of the very first things my hormone specialist suggested to me were to get outside, be in the sun, exercise, do yoga, meditate, and take a Vitamin D supplement. Since then I have found that I am my VERY BEST SELF when I incorporate that list of items into my life and stick to my commitment to exercise every morning getting those much needed endorphins. I just love them.
The picture above is of one of my favorite places, My gym. (ok it isn’t mine, I just go there). I have found a community, friendship, motivation, self confidence, and a love of waking up early to start my day off right. More to come on my favorite exercises and what I do to stay “in shape.”
If you are struggling to get out of your own head, experience anxiety or depression, are dealing with physical or emotional challenges, etc, I hope this might be another drop in your bucket to motivate you to move your body and find something active that you can do to take care of you and improve your mental health so you can be the best YOU you can be,