It is so easy to fall into a pattern.
Wake up: Check social media.
Stressful day?: Have a beer at lunch.
Get home: Turn the tv on.
I unfortunately got into all these habits the last 18 months and this coincided with not going the gym and a deterioration in my mental health and anxiety.
Morning, lunch or after work. These are the 3 most popular times to exercise yet I always found an excuse.
Morning: This used to be my exercise time, enjoying boot camps twice a week with some friends.
However, after my work location moving this quickly fell away and my self motivation of getting up in the morning has always been poor at the best of times.
Lunch: This for me is the perfect time. Splits the day nicely and refreshes you for the afternoon. However, I had started a new job with several pubs just a stone throw away, on many occasions I found myself going for a long lunch time walk (with all the right intentions) quickly being diverted into a pub.
Now, a mixture of exercise and the occasional pub lunch is great, never punish yourself from the things you enjoy, for you only live once, however I was not finding that balance. There was no balance.
After work: My new job was stressful, as with most new jobs, so many days I would treat myself to a quick pint for a hard days work with the intention of going the gym when I get home.
However, as soon as I get home, I see the comfy couch calling me and decide dinner and a glass of wine is what is required instead.
So, no exercise for 18 months and many pub lunches in your late 30’s was a bad mixture. Mid-life spread is a thing!
Worse for me, with alcohol comes gambling, with unhealthy eating and living comes lack of sleep, with lack of sleep, for me is a kick start for my anxiety and my anxiety can kick start depression. A slippery slope for all to see.
How could I turn this around?
Pretty bloody easily to be honest. With anything related to my mental health I need a support network. I am terrible at asking for help but for every major improvement in my life it came after speaking to people, my wife, family and a few very close friends.
So, I discussed joining a new gym round the corner from my work and my colleague told me she is already a member so I re-joined the gym at Christmas.
Soon a 2nd colleague joined and I now have motivation and a support network. So now 3-4 days a week I hit the gym at lunch, quick shower and back to work in just over an hour feeling great. My Thursday or Friday pub treat tastes and feels all the better. Balance!
I sleep better, feel healthier, the love handles are becoming less and even the 6 pack is slowly but surely remembering its purpose in life.
A support network has and always been so important to me to keep my mental health "fit and happy" yet, despite my constant preaching the benefits of keeping healthy, I wasn’t doing it myself.
So, take that first step, talk to people, let people know your feelings, in any realm of life, find your support networks and reap the rewards. You deserve that Friday cheat lunch!