Today was my rest day so I decided to take the dog for a little walk. I live right out in the country and I felt so calmed and relaxed watching the dog do his thing that I didn't realise when I got back near the house that we'd been walking at a fairly brisk pace for just over an hour and a half! I now feel totally relaxed and sleepy, something I haven't felt for months and months (I don't always sleep well and according to my sleep tracker, can toss and turn for anything up to 70 times in a night). I think for the first time in my life, exercise is playing a major role in not only my physical health but my mental health too. I have a very buzzy, busy brain and although I've not ever suffered long term from any mental health issues, I did have a bout of depression for about 3 months starting back in October which was a totally alien and freaky experience for me. I lost control of my thoughts ( that's the only was I can describe it) and apparently, it was all down to stress and not 'switching off' my brain to let myself calm down. Don't worry, I had some help and learned some strategies for coping and within a month or so I was totally back to normal I was very very lucky. Anyway, now when I feel those alien thoughts coming i employ the strategies, except I haven't actually has any 'moments' for weeks and weeks now. I also find my brain goes from being 100 miles an hour to almost slow motion when I'm exercising and it's such a relief to be able to flick that switch and almost turn the lights off. I honestly think the resting feeling my brain gets during exercise is keeping my mental health in check and allowing me to take a step back from my thoughts... Sorry for the long winded and possibly self indulgent post, I'm kind of trying to work this all out for myself at the moment. It's such a twisty and unexpected journey I'm on with couch to 5k, the shift in my lifestyle is seismic and at the age of 24, shamefully exercise of any sort is a totally new experience. Who'd of thought it could be so good for you???
Here, enjoy a photo of my dog on our walk today as an apology