I’ve suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember but it’s only the past couple of years I’ve understood what anxiety is and how it affects me. I can’t really pin point where it all started. As a child I was always shy. I was known as the shy and quiet one. I think over time it either turned into anxiety or my shy personality was just anxiety in disguise. My anxiety mainly impacted my social life. Meeting new people was something that scared me slightly, but I mostly just couldn’t be arsed. I couldn’t be arsed going through the awkward introduction/getting to know each other stage. I couldn’t be arsed with being paranoid about what they might think of me. My anxiety made me both anxious and lazy when it came to social interactions.
I’ve always been an active person. I’ll admit I’m not as active as I used to be but I’m working on it. I’ve only ever had one gym membership and it was for a local all ladies gym. This was a couple of years ago and the reason I went for an all ladies gym is because the thought of working out in front of men terrifies me. To any men reading this, please don’t get it personally. My paranoia is more active around men than it is women. I still don’t know why. My friends are guys, I get on better with guys than I do with girls but guys at gyms. No no. Just can’t do it. My paranoia goes crazy! I’m quite pale, so when I work out I go really red. Like tomato red. It’s always been a insecurity of mine that I still haven’t quite accepted yet. So my paranoia will then focus mainly on my red cheeks. It then creates these thoughts in my head that other people might be thinking (which I’m 99.9% sure are false). These thoughts go round and round my head till I suffer a panic attack. It’s not just my red cheeks though, I get paranoid about how much I sweat. I’m naturally a warm person. I’m like a hot water bottle. In winter its great but summer can be a real killer sometimes. So when I work out, I break into a sweat long before other people and then the paranoia sets in. Paranoia about what they might think or what I look like. So I joined a ladies gym, hoping that it would either help me cope or cure my gym fear. In the first few months of my membership I was going to the gym every few days. When I was there I would sign in, stick my ear phones in and get started. Starting off was always easy. I could always start off my exercises but after about 15-20 minutes in, the paranoia would begin. The paranoia started off gradual. It would start with thoughts of what other ladies might think of my workout outfit. I like gym clothes, but I don’t really own any. I used to go to the gym wearing leggings and a baggy top. But there would be some ladies who were proper kitted out for their workout sessions so my paranoia started with this. Thoughts like this racing around my head whilst exercising caused me to feel really warm. Then the paranoia about my cheeks and sweat would start. Eventually I would go into full on panic mode and race to the toilets to chill out. The longest gym session I did was about 40 minutes. By 40 minutes my paranoia had drained me of my energy. I ended up cancelling my membership early. Partly due to my anxiety but I also couldn’t afford it. At the time I was working with horses, so I counted that as my exercise. Every so often I would go for a short evening run too just to make me feel like I’ve done something.
When I started an office job I soon realised that being active keeps me sane. It keeps my brain ticking. As I wasn’t getting that fulfilment in my work life, I had to make it happen another way. My money was still very tight, I couldn’t afford a gym membership and there was no point in joining a gym anyway. It didn’t really help me and I wouldn’t have gotten my monies worth. So I had all this energy and nowhere to burn it. So I started in home workouts. I started off following tutorials online and working routines. It started off great. I did it for a few weeks then it just kinda fell apart. I’d lost interest in a way. Then I got my loan horse. So my energy was burnt doing my yard duties and riding, but some days I would go home and still have so much excess energy. About November time last year I started to clean my diet up so I thought this would be a good time to start home workouts again. I tried the tutorials again, and I just couldn’t be arsed with them. So I created my own workouts…kinda. I would stick my earphones in and zone out. Go into my own world. I started to dance to the music I was listening to. The dancing led to me getting the motivation to do sit-ups, crunches, squats, the plank and I was able to do them! I created my own pace. My own intervals. The thing I didn’t create was a routine. I did whatever I felt like doing. Whether I did some crunches then had a break and then did some squats or just planked, I had worked out. I had motivated myself. The best thing is I’ve got results! I can see a difference in my physique but mostly my confidence! My confidence has grown!
I still spend every evening or every other evening dancing and working out in the comfort of my own bedroom. Physically would I have gotten quicker and better results from being at a gym? Probably yes, but I know I wouldn’t be as confident or feel as good about myself if I had gone back. Sure it might sound like I’m running away from the issue rather than facing it and working with it, but my aim isn’t to be skinnier or more toned. My aim is to be happy and confident in myself. It’s all about balance. It’s all about finding what works for you! Eventually I might join a gym, you never know! But at the moment i’m very happy with my exercise regime.
There is a way around every problem you are faced. You’ve just gotta find which way is right for you!
Sending my love to you all,