I'm a strong believer that physical activity can be an excellent outlet and coping tool for mental health issues -- and lived through times where this has been personally proven for me. I shared a part of my personal story awhile back in the blog about how fitness helped my mental and emotional health through a difficult time. It involved my parents becoming ill quickly and needing to be a caregiver for them as well as a support person. While my life was rearranged during that period of time and emotions ran high, being active and following my workouts helped me stay strong and focused as well as take time outs for myself. But it's also important to know that it cannot be the only tool we use. I have been struggling the last few months without truly knowing that I was. While my fitness helped me through that period of time, I failed to continue to focus on my self care after my life fell back into a more "normal" routine. My workouts still helped me and I stayed on track with them, but I did not follow through with processing the emotions that came with dealing with trauma.
So, I found myself recently fighting through exhaustion, ignoring signals from my body that I was suppressing emotions and just going through the motions of daily life. My workouts, while happening, were not focused or enjoyable. My mind, while always running full speed, was not clear and my thoughts were not productive. I was no longer balanced mentally or emotionally.
I have just started working through this with other tools including talking about it, writing about it and setting healthy boundaries for myself and those around me -- as well continuing my physical fitness. I am slowly regaining some balance by using all of these tools and feeling more focused. It feels like a fog is lifting that I didn't even notice was there before. It's just the beginning of healing for me and I know it's going to have it's ups and downs, but I also know that I am on the right path.
It is easy to find one tool and hang on to it, thinking it will be the solution but it can lead to neglecting other parts of ourselves. If you're struggling, take a look at the tools and coping methods you are using, are they balanced? Are you using all the resources you need? They should offer you healing for both your body and mind.
I am always more than happy to hear from others who are finding new coping methods and balance in their lives. Please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.