It all started with the very best intentions.
I’d just moved from London to Sydney, hoping for a fresh start after a terrible year.
This was pre-COVID. So what qualified as a terrible year back then was devastating in an entirely different way.
A close friend had died, then a family member. I’d suffered unexpected health issues that landed me in hospital. Then, just as I’d started to recover, I lost my job.
Actually, that devastation sounds a lot like COVID.
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Anyway, it was a lot. And according to my GP, I was suffering with ‘reactive depression’.
That meant that my low mood, inability to sleep and complete lack of motivation was in response to situational stress. As soon as my circumstances improved, I’d improve - or so she said.
In the meantime, there was self care (which definitely wasn’t called that back then). Healthy eating, better sleep (laughable, but thank you), and plenty of exercise.
I’d always had a love/hate relationship with exercise up until that point. While I’d excelled in sports at school, thanks to puberty and toxic 90s diet culture, I’d soon settled into a pattern of Yo-Yo dieting that quickly narrowed my view of what exercise was down to just one thing: a weight loss tool.
If I was ‘on a diet’, I’d be hitting the gym five days a week. If I was ‘off the wagon’, my runners would start to gather dust.
It was always all or nothing.
And after the year I’d just been through, ‘nothing’ had increasingly become the popular choice.
As I sat and cried in my GP’s office, it was the first time in my life I’d been asked to consider a different motivation to work out – to improve my mental health.
Desperate, I promised myself I’d at least try.