Over recent years in my personal life, I have had to find the balance between being a stay-at-home mum – putting the children’s/families needs first, and finding time for me; for both my physical and mental well-being.
I was always fit leading up to the birth of my first child, and was attending Bootcamps up until a few weeks before the baby was born. After she was born I soon got back to Bootcamps, and I was attending Hot Yoga regularly and felt really strong both mentally and physically, but then I fell seriously ill with glandular fever which meant that all exercise had to stop. I couldn’t walk very far without becoming ill, and I wasn’t even allowed to do yoga anymore.
My body had only just recovered when I fell pregnant with my son, and I wanted to train as I knew that had helped me during the first pregnancy as well as helping me to recover after the birth. Unfortunately, because I had not been training prior to becoming pregnant, instructors were not able to work with me and as a result I did very little exercise other than my normal walking and playing with my 4yr old. The results of this were long lasting because I totally lost confidence in myself. He was a big baby, and my body certainly didn’t “snap back”. Subsequently my self esteem was incredibly low, I was lethargic, but felt too self conscious about how unfit I was to actually do anything about it – putting myself in a vicious circle.
Then one day a good friend convinced me to join a new Bootcamp with her and she took me out running. My aim was to complete a 10k race later that year – that aim soon turned into completing a half marathon, and I’m very proud to say that I have just completed the London Marathon. It has taken hard work, dedication and a strong support network, but increasing my fitness again and eating a well balanced diet has no doubt had a huge impact on my mental well-being. I feel more confident, I feel stronger and am taking on new challenges in all areas of my life.
For me, food and fitness definitely go hand in hand with my mental health. If I am tired, stressed, or starting to feel low again, then a run with a nutritious meal to come home to always lifts me up again.
During my work with the homeless, I was helping them to take control of their well-being, as so much of their lives felt out of control. I hope that through my articles on here I will be able to help you see how balancing diet and fitness will enable you to take control of your mental health, instead of your mental health controlling you.