This is a little hard but also necessary to share with you all. You may or may not realise I have been a little quiet on social media, even in our zoom classes I have avoided a lot of conversation after class. I wanted to share my experience around mental health during the lockdown and hopefully help someone else in return.

“We’re all in this together” has been thrown around a lot over the last 6 months, but for some it is a lot harder than others and comments like this can be really triggering. 

Since the studio closed on 23rd March, I have always tried to be strong, resilient and was determined to push through to survive in both my business and personal life. The first 2 weeks in March was pretty much fight or flight. I took it upon myself to do all I could to keep Salt clients moving and active. I stayed up all hours of the night to transform the reformer studio you all know and love into an online mat studio. After those initial 2 weeks of stress, anxiety and lack of sleep, I actually began to enjoy the slower pace of life in lockdown and teaching online. I had suffered from fatigue the year before so allowing myself to stop and do things that I enjoy was quite refreshing!  

Life began to slowly open again, and we were allowed 2 full weeks of in-studio Pilates before we closed again! It was great seeing all of your faces for those 2 weeks and I was overwhelmed with joy at the amount of regular and new clients who came into the studio at that time. Then lockdown 2.0 hit here in Melbourne and I found myself getting overwhelmed with negative emotion. The 2 weeks prior was like a tease into normal life and then was suddenly taken away again. I feel like I have a big responsibility for not only myself, but for the hundreds of clients who come to Salt every day. I have the responsibility to provide clients with a high level of studio experience, which for the 2nd time this year has been tested and shut down. I felt so defeated and unmotivated and I could feel a lot of clients becoming unmotivated too.

For me, stage 4 hit me hard. I don’t know about you but I tend to bottle things up, then suddenly the smallest, silliest inconvenience sets me off and I explode with emotion. In this case, stage 4 lockdown hit, I haven’t had a normal working routine for 6 months, I couldn’t even go into the studio to film classes, I couldn’t see my family, I went through a breakup and of course my TV broke (the TV is what really set me off 🤣 ). I focused on what I didn’t have and what I couldn’t do and I suddenly felt more alone than I ever have in my life. I stopped texting and going on walks with friends, I stopped eating and literally didn’t get out of bed for 8 days other than the 10 steps it takes to walk to my Pilates mat to film a class in my living room! I didn’t see a single human for those 8 days and even holding my phone to text felt like an effort. 

I knew what I was doing was awful for my mental health but I just couldn’t find the motivation to get up. I felt like I had no purpose and was completely useless, how could I motivate my clients to exercise when I couldn’t motivate myself to get out of bed. I’m not telling you this out of sympathy, but more hoping that others can relate and hope that I can help someone with what actually DID get me out of bed! Some of these are total cliches but they do work!

  1. Get outside. I know the prospect of actually getting up can be hard, but even 10 minutes around the block can do a world of good. My grandmas sister always says “get some colour on your cheeks, make yourself look alive!” 
  2. Exercise. Exercise for me is the biggest mood booster. Pilates was literally the only thing I got out of bed for each day, because I had that responsibility to clients to turn up. I have set myself a running goal for September and aim to go for a bike ride at least twice a week. Setting little goals will keep you on track.
  3. Cooking. You all know I love to cook but over the last few weeks I literally ate nothing but toast with peanut butter (yum but not exactly nutritious). Over the weekend I was craving seafood, so decided to make mussels. They were delicious and I feel like I have got my cooking mojo back… stayed tuned for some yummy recipes!
  4. Sleep. I’ve been staying up so late recently. I have been exhausted and overtired. I have set a goal to get my bed time routine back to 9pm and read at least 1 chapter of my book each night. I am also using a sleep tracker to aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night (I have been averaging 4-5 hours over the last couple of months).
  5. Breath Work. This is something new to me and I am a little nervous about starting this week! I have followed @siobhanloubreathwork on Instagram for a long time and what she shares really resonates and inspires me. Timings of her breath work classes never aligned with my schedule in the past, but last week she introduced a new Beginners breath work class that is perfect… it’s a sign! If you are interested in learning more about breath work, give her a follow on Instagram. I may even do a little blog post on my experience next week.
  6. Help. Ask for help. Whether that’s from a friend, family member or professionally. This is something I tend to put off until I am at breaking point. I tend to sit with my feelings for a long time and push them to the side. But it is essential, “A problem shared, is a problem halved”. 

As I said, I am not 100% feeling my positive smiley self and whilst in lockdown I probably won’t. But finding a routine was key. It’s the small things in every day life that really make a difference to uplifting your mood. Do something that will make you feel good. Put on fake tan or makeup, go for a walk with a friend or if that’s too much, just walk to your nearest coffee shop. Again, I am not looking for sympathy or for many people to even understand what I have been feeling but am sharing my lockdown experience in the hope that someone who is feeling the same as I have realises you aren’t alone and if you need someone to rant, cry or go for a walk with, I’m here!  

– Bec