I have suffered from anxiety and depression for most of my adult life. But, don’t cry for me yet, it hasn’t been all bad, in fact, there has been plenty of good. For years my chronic anxiety worked as an accelerant. It drove me to approach my career with a single minded determination that seems far outside my natural disposition. As that is true, perhaps it is then less ironic that I have also been in the exercise field, and more specifically, in some sort of management or teaching position for my entire adult working life. Although we tend to associate folks who make their living in the health and wellness space with having a surplus of self confidence, speaking for myself and many colleagues I have talked to over the years, it’s simply not true. Behind chiseled abs, toned glutes, or wise Instagram quotes are humans; prone to the same fears and dysfunctional behaviors as the rest of us.
When our team discussed using self care as a theme for our Instagram posts a few weeks back, I felt we had a responsibility to be transparent. I’ve been in and out of therapy and on & off medications for years. I’ve been the recipient of great help, but, my innate skepticism always led me to wonder if my therapists practiced what they preached; if they really attained the level of inner calm and peace they presented, or if they were just playing an imposter, and back at home they were just as troubled as I was. I’m not sure that it actually matters as long as the help is delivered in a professional way, but, I always hoped for the former and still do.
Well, I never found out about my therapists but, I can tell you about myself. When it came time for me to work on this piece for self care I initially leaned towards a quip about running, but, that seemed hollow. The truth is that the more I thought about it, the more it became clear to me that my entire personal life is set up to be self care. From the fabrics of the clothes I like to wear, to the food I eat and most importantly the people I have around me on a regular basis, I’ve tried to devise a personal life whose very essence is self care so I have enough left in the tank to be brave enough to keep pushing forward in my professional one.
I certainly DON’T always practice what I preach to my clients. I literally can’t remember the last evening I went to bed without an obscenely decadent dessert(s). I skip necessary warm ups and cool downs in my workouts every time my exercise window is short. I most likely have a 1 to 59 minute ratio per hour that I spend actually studying something important vs goofing off on Youtube. However, I use our core principles of education, compassion and movement to manage my anxiety and depression on a regular basis, and it has helped me remain stable through all of life’s magic and absurdities.
I know I am not the first, and certainly hope I’m not the last person who makes their living in the health advisory field who shares their struggles and real coping strategies, openly, without shame, no matter what they may be. Our tag line at Exercise-Intelligence is “Changing the
Conversation on Exercise”. It starts with us, and sharing what we do on a daily basis to improve the lives of our lives and those of our clients. Our mission at Exercise-Intelligence is to provide access to the most effective health and wellness applications from around the planet, and in order to do that trust and transparency is paramount. Now you know about us, we’d like to know about all of you, we encourage everyone to share so we can really start to Change the Conversation on Exercise.