Lockdown has had a great impact on the lives of many people around the world in a whole host of ways; and in many ways it has been very apparent; this can include: financial difficulties, isolation, declining health, loss of loved ones and many, many more. This impact has had a varying degree on daily life for the majority of people no matter who they are. What is a lot more unclear is how this will all effect peoples long term mental health; the short term has been very clear and obvious, but how will this impact us a few years down the line.
One thing that has happened to me throughout the lockdown is I’ve lost a lot of self-confidence. I am now constantly asking myself if I am good enough, if I can achieve what I thought possible only a year ago. The thing is, I don’t know exactly when it has happened or why; I have just noticed recently that I don’t have that ambition like I used to. Tell a lie; I do, probably do more now than ever! But what I am struggling with is the belief that it’s possible. I felt like I could achieve anything before, I just had to work hard and be smart about my decisions. This could be work related goals, fitness, personal; no matter what though I always thought it was possible. Recently though I’ve noticed I don’t even feel like I can achieve things that I have already achieved previously.
Now this might sound ridiculous and like it’s not really an issue; just something that’ll come back when things are ‘back to normal’, but it’s effecting me more than that. I have become very anxious in certain aspects in my life; aspects that I have never felt anxious before! Being bipolar, one of the side effects I experienced was anxiety, I had anxiety attacks, and I would get social anxiety and pick up on cues that weren’t there. But this is different, I am now routinely anxious, the same things bring it up and it’s getting worse and worse. Before it was sporadic, and very occasional whereas this time it almost seems calculated and planned. This has led me into a few depressive episodes where I have lost self-control (but that’s a story for another blog). This small thing is becoming a big problem in my life.
There is an upside! I have sound something that brings me back to my go-getting confident self. That thing has been weightlifting.
Now if you know me you know that last year I managed to break my ankle rather severely (6 months no weight baring severely). I am just coming off of the back-end of it now and am almost fully recovered (I hope). But this had severely limited the activity I could do as you can imagine.
One thing that has helped me massively that I can do is weightlifting.
Being a firefighter, I have been privileged enough to have access to my work gym to keep fit. This has been a saving grace, not just for my recovery but my mental health. The ability to set goals, keep moving and see measurable improvement has been the one thing giving me confidence. I always underestimated how much movement meant to me and how much it helps me to over-come the difficulties with my mental health.
It was only since injury that I started to really feel this and the slow return to sport has taken me out of a very dark place within myself.
I wish I could do parkour again but I’m just not quite there yet and that’s fine; I’m on the road to recovery; and I’m hoping when I can return to all the things I was doing before then this confidence will start returning to all the other areas in my life; but again this is a work in progress.
Physical training and general movement is such a rewarding process. Not just the physical challenge; but the mental challenge as well’ the resilience and confidence it helps build that carries over in daily life. I truly believe that movement is the most beneficial part of my mental wellbeing.
So, my suggestion post lockdown would be get out and MOVE; whether that’s a walk, a run, exercise or playing a sport, just get out and get moving.