Stepping Out of the Gym: Keeping Up Your Own Mental Health

This next, and final (oh say it ain’t so!), edition of “Stepping Out of the Gym” is extra special to me because it comes from a very good friend of mine and an old co-worker. Being that we got dragged through the fire together in our previous (for both of us) job, reading her answers and her relation of stress to exercise is something that hits home for me… As I am sure it does for many of us.

Currently, my girl is rockin’ it in her new OT life and she is kickin’ butt! Both in work and at CKO heehee 😉 Previously, we worked together at a residential and partial hospitalization program for adults with mental illness. We were faced every day with some of the most trying clients, and just people in general, that I have ever come across in my life. I use to BOOK IT out of the office at 5 mins to 4 if I could just to make sure I could make it to my 4:30pm Crossfit class because I needed to blow off steam after each day. Even as we each transitioned into new jobs, the fields we are tackling are certainly not the most laid-back of positions or populations to work with.

Dealing with an overwhelming amount of stress, especially when it is coming from the thing you spend the largest amount of your time each day doing, can really take a toll on your body – physically and mentally. It is imperative for our own health and our ability to continue to work in our fields of choice that we take care of ourselves.

I am so BEYOND impressed with this girl and the way she is tackling her fitness! She is so inspiring to me and I am so luck to call her one of my closest friends. GET IT GIRL!

So without further ado…

Why do you believe your current health and fitness level impact (positively or negatively) your career? Why is it important to your career to remain healthy and fit?

The level of stress is high at my job, therefore I utilize my daily workout sessions as a healthy way to cope with the stress, as well as reduce the effects of stress on my physical and mental health; I feel like I can be more productive at work, as I have more energy, and overall I am just in a better mood when I remain healthy and fit.

What was the moment you realized you needed to make your health and fitness a priority?

When my stress level was skyrocketing (between work and school); I would always turns towards some of the negative ways to cope with my stress (drinking, smoking cigs, binge eating), which only made things worse, I felt terrible, and just unhealthy all the time, to the point where walking up a flight of stairs was a struggle, that was probably when I realized something needed to change.

What is your exercise of choice? If you have a specific favorite workout what is it? What is a go to quick workout for a busy day?

CKO KICKBOXING 5-6 days a week, and running a few times a week. I use different fitness/exercise apps on my phone as a go to quick workout for a busy day.

Who/what inspires you the most?

Some of the ‘fitness minded’ people in my life right now; some of my really good friends, as well as the trainers that I get to work with every day at the gym!

What is your favorite go-to on the job fit snack?

Fage yogurt for sure!

What advice would you give to someone in a similar profession who is trying to schedule their own gym/fitness/workout routine into a busy schedule?

For someone who always used to think I didnt have time to workout everyday, I have to say you can never be too busy for a workout session, it can be done at a gym or even at home; NO EXCUSES. And whether you work in a place where the stress level is high or not, taking care of yourself should be a priority and staying physically active/working out is definitely one of the best ways to do it, and it’s therapeutic!

To say I relate to her is an understatement. I am prone to letting stress just completely take me over and I have seen the worst depths of that. Using exercise to relieve stress is not only helpful for me in maintaining my own mental health in order to work with the population I do but it is also something that I preach to my own clients!

Now this may be the last post for the “Stepping Out of the Gym” series but don’t fret… Up next will be a NEW weekly series following my 6 weeks “Holly Jolly” of which I will explain all later 😉

2 thoughts on “Stepping Out of the Gym: Keeping Up Your Own Mental Health

  1. Oh man, this is so true. When I was nursing and doing shift work, I did exercise but not nearly enough for the stress I was going through at work. It is hard to see it happen when you’re living it, but my whole lifestyle crashed into turmoil once my stress hit a certain level. Energy crashed, crazy binge/craving cycles, constantly anxious and dreading work that I used to love, and just generally unhappy. I don’t think I will go back to working in a hospital, but I know that if I had taken better care of my physical and mental health, that it would have been a more sustainable career.
    Meg x


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