When I used to be anorexic, sport/working out/training wasn’t fun or relieving at all. It was just a tool to punish myself after eating anything (even if it was just a bowl of soup).
That’s why I wanted to train alone, when you don’t work out for pleasure everybody can see it and I prefered to hide it.
I was just feeling literally like a giant stick of shit. The mental toll of this illness is very hard. I hated my body that’s a fact, but most importantly I was extremely weak. I couldn’t do any kind of exercise for a long period of time without feeling sick (nausea, dizziness, pain in the joints).
So when I saw my doctor the first step was really just to get back strength, muscles and flexibility and eat properly step by step. Further along I went back to exercise not because I needed too but because it was fun, I was enjoying myself, was pushing my limits and felt part of a group.
I created lovely memories at the gym with the family I have there and some people are still part of my life even being away from Europe.
It took me almost two years of working with my therapist and different coaches to train for pleasure again. I am still working on this today and always try to have fun when I do it.
Some days I need to go very hard and strong at the gym and lift heavy weights.
Some days I need to just walk on the beach or stretch at home watching a serie on Netflix.
Sport has been a very useful tool for healing because it gave me a way to expulse everything.
When I workout I only focus on my physical sensations, my breath, my moves. I put myself in a bubble to just live a moment of deep connexion with my body. I get only into my physical sensations and push it until I feel relieved.
Why does it help with mental illness of any kind ? Because you regain power with yourself along the process. You feel confidence and self esteem again, strength again. You actually realize the extent of your physical power and you feel limitless
The aesthetic of your physique changing is just the cherry on the top.
Plus when you exercise, your body releases hormones of happiness, which is why you actually feel good for real.
So no matter what kind of mental illness you are experiencing, try do find a activity that you like and do it a couple of times per week, at your rhythm and find the joy in it.
The rest will come 😉