I’m on week 6 of my new job – a job where I am playing the role of responsible adult manager salesperson – and yesterday was one of those days where I realized that the honeymoon phase was officially over. It was a stressful, hectic day filled with new information, meetings, and questions/decisions about things I had no idea about. My brain was fried by 4:30pm. I reached out to a friend about grabbing a post 8pm beer (because, holy hell, it WAS A DAY) and I knew I had to first make it to the gym. All I kept thinking all afternoon was, “I can’t wait to get into the gym and pound this stress out.”
Yesterday, I ended up being 15 minutes late to the 5:30pm class at Solcana because traffic was JUST AWFUL. 35W South was at a stand still. People were driving like idiots. The Cedar exit off of Hiawatha was backed up for days. With 5 minutes to the start of class, I thought was being smart by going up to the 26th Ave exit, only to realize my error when I remembered Minnehaha was closed and I was going to have to weave my way even further to make it to the gym. I could feel my blood pressure rising with each and every second that passed. All I wanted was to get in the gym and sweat this stress out – but instead, I just kept getting more and more delayed in reaching my destination. The anxiousness and frustration were getting to me and I most definitely shouted many expletives in my car.
And then, something happened.
I took a minute to attempt to reorganize my thought pattern because I really did not like the way that I was feeling. You guys. I knew I was going to eventually reach the gym. Yes, I was going to be late…that part was unavoidable. However, I was going to get there, and everything was going to be just fine. I flipped the “proverbial switch” in my brain and immediately felt my heart rate slow and blood pressure lessen. I took a few deep breaths. Some things are just truly out of your hands and you just have to let them go.
I knew within minutes I would be at the gym and around my people. I’d sweat out the frustrations of the day and feel the immediate effects of the workout – walking out of the gym with a whole new attitude. That’s what I wanted. THAT’S what I was so frustrated about. I didn’t want to be kept away from making myself feel better because I know that virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever. This is an imperative necessity in my life – especially as someone working to successfully manage depression and anxiety.
I’m sure you know (and I’ve said it before, direct from the Mayo Clinic website):
- Exercise pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
- Exercise is meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
- Exercise improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how one of the reasons I even HAVE this important business lady job is because my time with Solcana helps me increase my self-confidence and self-worth. I am capable and I believe in myself. The Solcana community has always been there for me and time and time again I have walked in, feeling depleted, only to leave an hour later feeling renewed – despite having taxed my body physically. This is therapy, you guys (though I still believe everyone should have a therapist, too!).
My workout wasn’t great yesterday. It was hot (I could feel the sweat dripping down my body), and the 3 second pause back squats we did were HARD. They’re exactly like they sound – sitting at the bottom of your squat for 3 seconds before pressing up. I attempted these based off of my new 1 rep max of 270 (from competition a week ago) and equated the following:
- 10 @ 60% I did 7 at 165#
- 8 @ 65% I did 5 at 175# and failed on the 5th – meaning, I went down into my squat, lost tension, and was stuck there until my spotters helped me get up.
6 @ 70% 4 @ 75%
By this point, I was already feeling so much better mentally that this fail didn’t even get me down. I moved straight ahead into the remainder of the workout completing the following:
3 power snatch at 55#
- 20 russian swings (25#)
- 20 burpees
- 15 russian swings (25#)
- 15 burpees
- 10 russian swings (25#)
- 10 burpees
I managed to eek this out in 5:45 – though I still really hate burpees. I can feel myself getting better at them, though, as I’ve been instructed to pay extra attention to my weaknesses as I work to become a Coach at Solcana. Read: all gymnatics elements (handstands, box jumps, pull ups, muscle ups, pistols) and…burpees. Oh, and running, too. Always, the running.
Needless to say, I walked out of the gym last night with a new and welcomed attitude. I ate a great dinner, took a leisurely shower, and met my man friend for much needed, well deserved beer and good conversation. I slept soundly, and was up early this morning to take my pup for a walk in the summer air and get to work by 7:30am. My coworkers stopped in to check in, making note of how “overwhelmed I had seemed to be yesterday…” I accepted their observations with a laugh, stating that I was feeling so much better – I had driven straight to the gym last night and worked all of that out.
I don’t feel the anxiousness or stress today at all.
But you can bet your behind you know were I’ll be after work today, regardless.