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How exercise changed my life during this pandemic

During the pandemic I experienced and developed some pretty serious anxiety and depression. I had some personal issues at my previous school and I did not have any more confidence in myself. I had lost all feeling for most things I did on a day to day basis and the pandemic only emphasized this feeling and made me feel even more hopeless. I think like most of us I was struck with relentless boredom and at times felt like there was no point to do anything and the pandemic really left myself and probably many other confused and unmotivated. I eventually got to the point where I had to go see the doctor and get on medication, which started to give me a crutch to get back on my feet. I felt so anxious and like nothing was going to get better, I overreacted to small things, did not want to do things I normally would want to and was simply not myself because of the things I had put myself through. The thing that I think really saved me was exercise. I used to have this thing about exercise where I would only do it if I had to, dragging my butt to the gym a lot of times and forcing myself. I would still get good workouts in make progress as well as feel a little better after, but I would go hard for a few days and then burn myself out and not go for a while and be back to feeling hopeless and like I was never going to get out of this anxious feeling and hopelessness that I had developed over the pandemic. I behaved similarly over the next few months until about November 2021, I would go to the gym and get my work in a lot of days, but I never developed that true consistency I was striving for because I was always forcing myself to be there and only doing it to make myself feel something or alleviate my anxiety. It was not until November where I went to the gym seven or eight days in a row and felt this euphoria as well as confidence through my body all the time that I really had a true change in my behavior.

My fitness regimen was a way to develop a pattern to feel better mentally, but when I actually got super consistent in November I made the decision in mid- November that it was not going to be like other times where I would start slacking eventually, and I shut that stupid voice off in my head that said I cannot do it. That was the day where I really began the change in behavior that affected the way that I feel and my confidence level on a daily basis. It was a beautiful thing as well because I actually felt the shift in momentum from exercise being something, I do to make me feel good to it becoming a real passion of mine. I really have not looked back since then, I will take some weekends off or a day off here or there, but for the most part I have been nearly every day. I worked out 16 times in November, 26 times in December and 25 times in January. It really has changed my life in every aspect really; I feel much more focused on all of my tasks that I complete, I feel extremely confident all of the time, that I thought I had lost over the last two years since the pandemic hit, I am more present and diligent in other aspects of life since I have developed this passion for fitness. The coolest part however is the actual change in my behavior: I have this relentless drive internally to do hard things and push myself on a daily basis to get better and become a better athlete and person. An example of this is the in the last 4 days I have completed two 6 mile runs on the treadmill. I used to hate running and still do not like it, but that is why I do it because it forces me to get over my emotions and complete something hard that I do not want to do in order to better myself, which is a behavior I really did not possess at the start of the pandemic in the height of my depression especially.

My change in behavior with respect to exercise has really made such an impact on my life and made me feel very proud of myself on a daily basis. I think it is extremely cool that we have the capacity as humans to really change our behavior, which in turn makes us feel differently. We can all develop passions like this to get better and make ourselves feel better on a daily basis, seriously, if I was able to make this sort of change from where I was at mentally a year ago, we all can do it.

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