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!
- 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!”
- 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.
- 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!
- 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).
- 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.
- 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!