Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mental and Physical Health go Hand in Hand

I'm dragging today. In truth, I have been for quite a long time.

I used to pride myself on getting to the gym five times a week; lately I'm lucky if I go one. There are many legitimate reasons for this - I took on a new job, my schedule is very full, I had an injury, my workout buddy moved away, my depression is more overwhelming than usual. Each of these statements is true - and each is also an excuse. According to my handy-dandy Microsoft Word dictionary, one definition of "excuse" is "to release somebody from an obligation or responsibility." And my excuses have done just that for me. Over the course of several months, I've felt justified in slowly letting my gym time slip away. After all, I'm too busy, I can't keep up, and something has to give, right?

Many times, in my more self-aware moments, I have asked myself: WHY? Why would I choose to give up something that keeps me balanced and energized? I could theorize that it's because going to the gym is hard, or that I don't value myself enough to prioritize the things that benefit me, or that my depression often bizarrely manifests itself as apathy toward the things that normally bring me joy. The long answer is more complex than that, and the short answer is simply...I don't know. What I do know is that I'm acutely aware that I miss it, but I just keep telling myself...really, who has the time?

Well, this woman does.

(Did you click the above link yet? If not, do so now. Yes, now. Go ahead...I'll wait.)

Needless to say, I am definitely going to the gym today.

Not because I feel guilty, or like it is something I "should" do - but because Vicky Willan helped me remember that no matter how much it hurts/sucks/burns/[insert negative verbage here], I never feel stronger, healthier or more euphoric than I do right after a workout. And at the end of the day, no matter how much weight I want to lose or muscles I want to build, it is that natural high that makes all the hard work worthwhile.

So if you happen to be at Galter Life Center today, I'll be the heaving, swearing woman dripping sweat and trying not to fall down - all with a goofy-ass smile plastered on my red face. (I always appear one step from death when exercising. Is anyone else like that? In fact, I've seriously considered getting a custom-made workout shirt that says, "Don't Call The Paramedics...They Tell Me This Is GOOD For Me.")

And remember, I'm down an exercise buddy now - so if you need some motivation yourself, then by all means...come join me.


Jennifer Mathews is ETD's Communications Director and an actor in the ensemble. She is the manager of this blog as well as an occasional poster. Click here to read more of Jen's posts.


  1. Great blog and perfect timing to motivate me before the crappy weather settles in :)

  2. Great post! I'm going to use this as motivation to do some yoga at home, which I keep putting off.

  3. Great post Jen! I feel the same wa about mental health and exercise. When exercise is consistently in my routine, it make a huge difference:)