So, for the 457,000th time in my life, I have recently added exercise to my “trying to get healthier ” life routine. i joined the YMCA, and I have been taking classes, mostly in the pool. Water Zumba, water aerobics, water weights, things like this. It is actually a pretty damn good workout, and at the end of the hour-long class, I am totally wiped out. As an overweight person who originally gained a lot of weight as the result of coping/not coping with trauma, I have been up and down this “getting healthy” routine several times. Normally, I have some level of success, and then ultimately, I don’t stick with it, and it all falls apart. At some point, I end up falling back into old habits, and making poor choices with food, and then getting lazy about exercising. When my husband died suddenly, 7 years ago now, I found myself eating sporadically, thoughtlessly, and terribly. Loads of sugar. Anything with carbs. Chocolate. Cakes and cookies. Fast-food. Just all the bad things. It helped to numb me, and it tasted amazing. I did it out of boredom, loneliness, and fear. Fear of getting back up and living a life again, instead of simply existing. If I kept eating and living in a non-healthy way, it gave me all kinds of excuses to not better myself and to not care. There were many years after Don died, that I simply didn’t care.
But more recently, in the last year or two, I did start to care again. I began to get healthier. It has not been easy, or without challenges. I have gained and lost weight multiple times. However, I have been on the right track for awhile now. And joining the Y and being in these swim classes – not only does it feel good on my body, it feels good on my soul and my mind too. When I’m working out in the pool or lifting weights or playing racquetball, it feels as if healing and processing is happening in my brain. It feels like thoughts and emotions are being moved around and shifted and placed somewhere else, where there lies more peace. It feels very good, like I’m working things out in my brain. Dare I say that grief and trauma feel as if they are being released, little by little, with each and every movement of exercise? I will not pretend to be some expert on this topic, because I am not. I can only tell you how I feel. And I will say that I hope this time is different. I hope I stick with this as more of a lifestyle change, because it sure does feel like the healing is happening on many different levels, and I like it. Living well is not easy, but it feels so much nicer than not caring how you live. Caring about your own health feels like a pretty big piece of the healing – and I’m so very happy that I have arrived.