50 Shades of Pink

I have found that the best way to manage your mental health and coping with depression and anxiety is to stay on top of the following:

Medication and professional help – Your meds is vital and having professional support from Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and counsellors

Healthy diet. Too much of a good thing is counterproductive. Moderation is key. If you do decide to treat yourself with dessert or a glass of wine it must be done in moderation. Do your research and focus on good mood foods.

Stay active – Your activity level and fitness have a direct effect on your mental health. For many, this is the most difficult aspect to maintain. Depression and anxiety tire you both mentally and physically. The hard bit is not doing the actual exercise. Finding the courage and motivation to swop duvet days for more active alternatives sometimes feels impossible.

Self-nourishment. All the elements mentioned above are part of self-nourishment. Above all, you need to make time for yourself, spoil yourself. For me, coloring in mandalas have become a great way to relax

I have been in Chester for two weeks. Next week my studies start. I came a bit earlier to give me time to settle in and explore. The one thing that proved the most challenging was signing up with the gym on campus and start using this facility.

There are several little demons fighting against this. Again the actual exercise was the least difficult to do. All though I had a one to one session which included a tour of the facilities, I was bound to take a wrong turn, walk into the wrong room, mistake a closet for an exit. Embarrassing incidents are inevitable. Still even this was not the most challenging demon to fight. Self-conciseness is the biggest challenge of them all. ‘You’ll be the fattest person in the gym.” “Your skin will turn 50 shades of pink.” “You’ll be gasping for breath only a couple of minutes after you start.”

Ignoring these voices inside your head is a constant battle. Yesterday I did it!. On my way in I had to ask for help getting to the locker rooms. A very wise choice as I was on my way to the gents locker rooms. Passing reception on my way to the main exercise area, I took a wrong turn and ended up at an empty indoor gym hall. At least it was empty with no spectators witnessing my embarrassing moment.

Finally, I made it to the treadmill. It had a touch screen where all settings could be set to your personal requirements. I tried using it but bending down with your nose nearly touching the screen is not a wise choice especially if you all started jogging. Thank goodness for the emergency stop button. I ended up doing interval training and spend about 40 minutes on the treadmill.

All my predictions became reality. I was short of breath and several shades of pink. I still felt self-conscious so I tried to leave unnoticed. A great idea, which backfired. As I did not want to ask for help finding the exit, I left at the wrong door only to find a dead end. By now the staff noticed my predicament and called me back inside to show me to the main entrance.

A trip to the gym is so much more than just exercise. It lies ahead of you like an enormous mountain. Yet if you accept the challenge and make it to the top you can give yourself a high five. The demon of self-consciousness has been silenced, at least for now.

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