Medicine for My Mental Health

Today was a rough day at work, which is the norm these days. Not that this is uncommon for anyone, really – lots of people carry around a great deal of stress because of work.

That’s one of the reasons why I love my workout routine. After work, at least three days a week, I hit up my kickboxing gym, get my sweat on, and go home. It’s perfect.

When there are days like today, going to the gym is more than just going for my workout. It’s my therapy and my support group. Today, I walked in and was greeted by Double Hitter, one of the three amazing trainers. No one else was there at the time.

The first round was three minutes of jump rope. It wasn’t long before my blood started pumping and I could feel the stress melting away. Powder Keg, the trainer and owner who changed my life, came out of the back room and greeted me, commenting that my shirt was her favorite color – purple. She asked me how my day was, to which I said, “I’m so happy to be here.” (Did I mention that today was a rough day? I was thrilled to be there.)

Out the front door, which was propped open, I watched Hot Donna walk up in her gray t-shirt and black track pants. I yelled out a hello to her and tried not to trip over the jump rope.

Hot Donna is one of the reasons why I love the gym I go to. She’s a short, spunky, middle-age woman with red hair and her own stress and problems to sweat off.

The music blared and the timer buzzed. I moved on to the next round, then the next, and the next. By the sixth out of the nine rounds, sweat was dripping from my nose and temples, my heart was pounding, and I was delivering hard, swift roundkicks to the bag, one after the another.

I wrapped up my workout by holding a 30-second plank, my core muscles burning until my final buzzer sounded, and I lowered into a child’s pose.

By then, I wasn’t thinking about my bad day at work or the stress I carried. I was thinking about how Hot Donna and I keep each other motivated and inspired to push ourselves to get better. I was thinking about how my trainers have become some of the most influential people in my life. I was thinking about how good it felt to punch, and kick, and sweat my way into a better mood. I was thinking about how my regular workout routine is more than how I take care of my physical health. It’s how I take care of my mental health.

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