Laura Henshaw Credits This One Thing To Better Mental Health
Words by Laura Henshaw.
As soon as I think about relaxing, my mind immediately jumps to all the things I could be doing instead, like work or study. And yet, taking time out is so important to get the most out of ourselves and be the best we can be.
That’s why I always do my best to set aside 30-60 minutes every day for a workout – my own kind of ‘me time’. The mental clarity I get from exercise is unlike anything else, so instead of seeing it as a drain on my day, I view it as a battery recharge for my brain.
While I always listen to my body and skip a workout if I’m feeling rundown, if I miss a handful in a row, I begin to feel lethargic and stressed. The endorphins I get from exercising (and vitamin D, if it’s out in the sunshine) mean it’s a staple of my week. Sunday is my favorite day because it’s an opportunity for Dalton and I to go for a run and get ready for the week ahead.
Without little routines like that, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Keep it Cleaner, modelling, or my university degree. Going for a run or doing a KIC workout helps me approach each thing on my plate with a fresh perspective.
This positive outlook on exercise means I also do a lot of planning and goal-setting while I’m running; it helps me problem-solve and de-stress. No matter how big the problem might be, when I’m exercising, I feel powerful. Suddenly, the solution to whatever that’s troubling me doesn’t seem so scary or untouchable.
It wasn’t always this way! Three or four years ago, I worked out for aesthetic reasons. I would keep photos on my phone of stick-thin women as ‘motivation’ and grew obsessed with the idea of getting a ‘thigh gap’. Exercise was almost like a punishment – something I did to be as thin as I could be. I was working towards something that was so unattainable it was making me miserable. Now, I exercise not because of how it makes me look, but how it makes me FEEL (which is amazing).
There’s nothing I love more than putting on a playlist or podcast and pushing myself; improving my running time or increasing my strength makes me feel proud of myself, and reminds me of how strong and empowered I am.
Steph is the same. She always says that exercise for her is just like brushing her teeth – it’s part of her routine because it makes her feel healthy and happy. Once you consider your workout like brushing your teeth, slowly you’ll notice you’re moving your body more and more every week.
I think one of the reasons people yo-yo in and out of exercise is because they’re too focused on training for one event or goal. It’s totally understandable to tweak your routine in preparation for an upcoming event or challenge but focusing solely on something like that might mean you fall in a heap when the event has passed. If you refocus on how exercise will enhance your life not just in the coming weeks, but months and years, you’ll be quicker to bounce back up and get going again.
Whenever I feel like I can’t be bothered, I remind myself that our bodies are wired to reward us for exercise for a reason – it’s the best kind of self-care possible. It keeps our bones strong, our hearts happy, and our minds clear.
If you are struggling to feel motivated, or don’t feel positive about exercise, I definitely recommend writing down a description of how you feel the next time you go for a run or do a
The next time you feel unmotivated, refer back to that paragraph and remind yourself of how wonderful exercise is, not just for your body, but your brain!