By Elena Grivas, Athletic Therapist at Milesfit
"Once I allowed my body to move, with no real purpose other than needing to change the negativity around me, everything (well, almost) started to improve. I had more energy, I no longer hated myself for not being productive, and most of all I felt amazing for the first time in what felt like ages."
March 15th, the fateful day the world as we know it completely changed. That was the day the "lockdown" was officially announced here in Montreal, and people everywhere were suddenly working from home, out of a job, finishing school online, or simply stuck at home with nothing to do. Many took that opportunity to bake up a storm, start a new fitness regime, redecorate their houses, and so on and so forth; you name it, they were doing it. I, on the other hand, (for the first time since I was maybe 10) found out what it was like to have free time.
Up until then I had spent almost my whole life with a schedule packed to the brim. When I suddenly went from 110 percent to 0 (in the blink of an eye no less) I had zero idea on how to cope with it. Sounds silly, right? Who would not want all the time in the world? Well apparently, that person was me.
I simply did not know how to handle it: my brain was confused, my body went completely out of wack, and I had no energy at all; the only way I can describe it was that the sudden change sent me into a depression. Everybody kept telling me I should use the time for my hobbies, or that I could start home workouts because what else would a personal trainer/athletic therapist be expected to do, but I could not do it. I wanted to so badly, I really did; I saw all the positive “Ca va bien aller” posts and the motivation people had, but I did not have any of it and that drove me nuts.
Now, this post is not to garner your sympathy or make you feel down, but rather I needed to share my experience with all of you. We see the positive posts, but so few people are willing to show when things were less than amazing. I hated myself for the first month, maybe more, I (mentally) beat myself up for not being proactive and gave up on so much, until the day I realized how unhealthy I was being. I broke down crying to a friend and finally saw that I had no reason to be upset at myself; I am only human after all and even as a trainer and therapist, being perfect all the time never happens.
Did that suddenly give me all the motivation to accomplish my goals? No, it was still a huge struggle!
Did I start to find ways to help myself rather than spread my negativity? Definitely!
I slowly tried to add in positive activities, small things at first so as not to overwhelm myself; I needed to build habits and a new lifestyle, not create an “instant transformation” that would never last. In the end, what ended up saving me was, you guessed it: physical activity. No, I am not saying I went all out and did these intense workouts that left me sweating on the floor, my regime (at first) was a lot simpler: I started taking walks by the water. Every day I would get out of my house (respecting social distancing of course) and just move, letting the sounds of the water wash away the negativity and lose myself in the feeling of allowing my body to move. As humans we are not meant to sit still. Our bodies need activity and I am proof!
Once I allowed my body to move, with no real purpose other than needing to change the negativity around me, everything (well, almost) started to improve. I had more energy, I no longer hated myself for not being productive, and most of all I felt amazing for the first time in what felt like ages. I guess my body just needed to get things flowing again because today, as I write this, I am sitting here in better shape than I have been in a while (eventually my walking started including runs and other exercises) and a mindset that is stronger than ever.
That does not mean I am not struggling anymore; this new world still gets to me. I miss my clients at Milesfit who have not yet returned. I miss the rugby team I have worked with the past 4 years. I miss partying the summer away and all the Montreal festivals that should be happening. I miss seeing people’s smiles (darn masks), and hugs and high fives, and countless other things that are not really happening anymore.
But now I know that I can handle it all. When things get rough, I know that my path by the water will be waiting for me. Waiting to help keep my new lifestyle going and doing what my body does best: move and be active. And I sincerely hope that anybody else out there having a hard time with this new way of life finds what they need to "keep moving". Whether it be routine walks in a park, taking that first step to get back into the gym, or learning a new skill, we all need that one thing that will finally let us believe the iconic slogan of the year:
CA VA BIEN ALLER!
… (I promise)