Over the past year (2019), I’ve been working hard to change how I talk to myself mentally. My biggest hurdle was my inner voice. It often tells me to give up and let it go. But during the last few months, I’ve noticed a change of tone and dialogue. Instead of “Give up; it’s okay,” I hear, “I’ve got this; you can do it!” This makes me push myself for one more rep, one more minute, one more whatever.
This change has altered my mindset completely. I don’t just give up and quit when faced with a challenge; I try to keep going until I’m satisfied, or I can go no more physically. It has created new mental discipline I’ve never had before in my life. The only time I remember pushing myself physically is when I did Tae Kwon Do as a preteen, almost two decades ago.
My new mindset has had such a positive effect on my mental health. I tend to be acutely aware of my mood and mental wellbeing, since I’ve dealt with bipolar disorder and anxiety since I was 15 years old. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a general smoothing out of the swings I typically experience. My highs are less severe, and my lows are less devastating. My bounce-back time has also become shorter, from depressed to stable in only a day or two. That’s not to say that my mental illness is gone; it is just less intense.
I crave the mental boost brought on by a good workout. It helps carry me through my day, especially during long dark winter days. That said, I know winter and January in particular will test my newfound mental stability. The holidays make early winter more palatable, but after New Year’s Day, it is one long laborious wait until spring. It usually takes an immense toll on my mental and physical health.
I need to keep telling myself, “You’ve got this!”