Behind the Smile Vol. 5: Let’s Talk Physical and Mental Health
It has been a little while since I have done a Behind the Smile because for the most part, I feel like I have sat a little stagnant for the past month or so. Not really moving far in any particular direction, in any rhyme or reason. But today feels like a day when people just need to hear some reminders and need to know they are not alone. So sit down and buckle up for the ride.
Let's first hit physical health. Now for those of you who have only known me a short while, I'll fill you in on my physical health real quick. I have never been super thin. In fact it takes A LOT of work for me to lose weight, but I have done it. A year ago I was at my lightest weight I have ever been since I could remember, I was tipping the scale backward toward the 170 mark, which was an amazing feeling. I was quite literally a gym rat. I would be at the gym any free chance I got and I would get up crazy early to make sure I made it and I could work out for hours. So what happened? Well, I met Jordan (no, I'm not blaming him) and I got SO comfortable with him. Never in my life have I had a partner I could just be me -- and I can with him.
We both stopped going to the gym and it wasn't gradual -- we just stopped. For me, a couple of pounds gained turned into five and then 10 and then 15 and here I am now starting at the same place I was two years ago. I have TRIED to go back to the gym, and I have tried to go back to eating my perfectly organized and proportioned meals, but for some reason, I was failing and couldn't remember how I even started in the first place.
Do you know what happens to someone who suffers from a mental illness such as depression and anxiety when they let their physical health go? They spiral out of control mentally. Why? Because aerobic exercises like running and jogging help to reduce anxiety and depression. Think about it. Exercise creates endorphins, and endorphins literally make you happy. So you lack your naturally happy brain chemical, and when you couple that with weight gain and hating your body OF COURSE you are going to spiral out of control!
Physical and mental health really are directly related, and that bond should not go ignored.
So, I was getting ready for work yesterday and waiting for the shower water to warm up and I say to myself, "Hey Cheyenne -- why don't you do a couple of squats and some pushups since you are just standing here?" I complied with myself, did a couple of squats, busted out some pushups and as I was finishing my last pushup, it hit me square in the face, like a That's So Raven (from Disney channel) psychic see-into-the-future moment, except it was into my past. At that moment I was reminded how I started working out in the first place. My gym rat phase started with just doing sit-ups in the living while watching TV. it was as simple as that. What I just started doing in my bathroom because I was there was how I got started in the very beginning. Just knowing where my starting point was then, and where it is now, I already feel like I am on the right path to better physical and mental health.
Now, there are a lot of things that go into someone's mental health, but here are some things that help make it a little easier:
- Respect yourself. If you do not have any respect for yourself, how can you possibly expect someone else to respect you?
- Know and set your mental boundaries. These are no different than physical boundaries. Know just how far you are willing to let people push you and how far you aren't. A key part of this, though is to not set those boundaries too close to your breaking point. Set them far enough away so that if someone crosses that line you have time to recover.
- Command mental respect, but do not demand it. What I mean by that is demanding is telling someone to respect you, and a lot of people do not respond well that way. So command it. Carry yourself in a manner and in a way that people won't even question whether you need respect, they just give it to you.
Lastly, let's visit life, because honestly life is hard and it has a way of throwing us situations that we really do not know how to handle and or move past. What I think we have to remember is that no matter what happens in our personal life, the world moves on. Therefore, we have to keep moving, keep moving forward onto the next day. Is that easier said than done? 110%, all day long, but just keep pushing, keep moving, setting little goals for every day. Do not let yourself get entangled in the tentacles of life.
If you are lucky to be having great things moving in your life, remember not to get too big-headed over it -- because you can just as quickly lose yourself in the positives of life as you can the negatives. Remember that even the largest door in the house still has a frame your ego has to fit through.
That is it for Behind the Smile today, I hope this reaches whoever needs to hear it!