Exercise & Quarantine

I generally don’t experience “FOMO” – fear of missing out, to the uninitiated. In fact, I have the total opposite – nothing brings me more pleasure than staying in knowing that everyone else is out doing things that I have no interest in doing.

We’re on week 5 of Quarantine in Spain, and for the first time I am experience FOMO. Crazy right, when no-one is allowed out.
But my FOMO hasn’t been party related – it’s very much to do with social media and online workouts.
Is it me, or if you’re not exercising, meditating, yoga-ing – you’re not even Quarantining?

Part of my story involves over-exercising, or using exercise as a coping mechanism in excess. Others who have experienced this or are in recovery may be able to identify – as soon as we’re in a stressful situation, or one which makes us feel particularly vulnerable, we fall back on our go-to coping strategies – and yes, the negative ones seem a lot more appealing sometimes.

When lockdown happened I definitely experienced this. I don’t like to say I am ‘fully recovered’. I don’t judge people who do, but personally, I feel like recovery isn’t an end goal. It’s a long road with lots of stops, U-turns, bumps, and the odd mile where there is smooth road and beautiful sights.
The way I see it, I’m so far from where I was when I stated my recovery, and the only person I can compare myself to is me.

All well and good saying this of course, but when lockdown happened my world changed literally overnight (as did everyone’s) and the black dog started peering over my shoulder.
I felt alone, worried about the future and like the perfectionist I am, I wanted to do Quarantine RIGHT.
What a great opportunity! I’ll write! I’ll clean the Villa! I’ll exercise! I’ll be the best mum to my dog!
The list goes on. Speaking of lists, I made them endlessly. I had lists for my lists, there were sub-sections, whiteboards hanging around, lists on excel, lists being printed out… Amongst all this ‘order’, my head was total chaos.
Over-exercising has been part of my illness, for me it is less about calorie-burning and more about not being able to sit still. Sitting still equals slowing down equals having feelings come up. These feelings might suck. I don’t want to feel these feelings. They’re big and ugly, so I’m going to clean instead.
The thing is, once you’re aware of how you operate, it doesn’t work that well or for very long. It only took about a week of this for me to hit the wall; cry, lash out and ask for help.

These are not normal times we’re living in; our responses will be anything BUT normal.
Even those who give help, still need help.

I’ve learned what I do and don’t need to be doing in Quarantine.
It really is a time for self-discovery – not perhaps in the way you think. Self-discovery is NOT a diet plan, meditation app or CrossFit workout every day. Self-discovery involves finding out your core values; what feelings come up for you when you don’t have the day-to-day business and distractions? How do you normally cope with these? What good sides has this situation brought out in you? What bad sides?

For me, it has reaffirmed that recovery is a daily reprieve. I have to keep striving forward: there’s no such thing as staying still – you either move forwards or you will go backwards.

all that over-exercising did for me was make me compare myself to everyone on social media; make me physically tired which left me mentally vulnerable and prevented me from connecting with myself and my loved ones.

This will sound like a shameless plug, but truthfully that is why my fiancé and I wrote up a 4-week exercise plan. I was overwhelmed by the workouts online and felt like I should be doing all of them, all at once, just because I could; just because they were there; because everyone else was!!
But then exercise took up too much of my mental energy – figuring out what times, what complimented what – and I’m a personal trainer for God’s sake!
We figured that if I felt like that, many other people in and out of recovery would too.
The answer: a succinct workout plan which was not about dropping dress sizes, or ‘be your best self’, it was about maintaining your mental health and moving IF it suited you (here’s the link to read more)

I really urge everyone to think before their next workout in Quarantine, what do you not want to sit with??

If anything in this post resonated with you, or you just want to say hi, please contact me ali@alisilver.co.uk