May is Mental Health Awareness month… and I am going to talk about it!!
Many of you know that I worked as a social worker for 12 years before “retiring” to focus on a career in health and fitness. What you may not know is that I probably do more “social work” now than I ever did working in the field (my caseload is in 100+!)
My lens is just different! I still consider myself a facilitator of change and I get to help people become their best self -with A LOT less paperwork!
I meet with each prospective member prior to them joining at CrossFit 1936.
This gives me an opportunity to get to know our athletes, what their goals are and what has held them back in the past. I am also not naive to the fact that though anyone CAN come to our classes- CrossFit isn’t the right fit for everyone.
I have done hundreds of these interviews and ALL of them have something in common…. Every single one of us want to FEEL something. Feel strong, feel sexy, feel energized, feel confident, and feel like we belong. What does that mean?
Plain and simple. Every single person wants to have a positive feeling.
Do we want to look good in a swimming suit? Of course!
But most people said they want to feel confident in a swimsuit… hear the difference?
I love working through this with our members. It's not easy and is often messy… but it's worth it!
So often we ignore our feelings, we maybe don’t know how to understand them or even be able to identify them. But they are THERE! They are a part of who we are! Ignoring them is like leaving a child home alone... ( They MAY be okay for a little while- but they may burn down the house!)
I cannot tell you how many times people refer to their workouts as (or in addition to) their therapy. It is time, space and energy put into something really hard to do. Little by little, burpee by burpee, you can do harder and harder things.
Little by little your confidence grows and as you feel more and more connected to those around you- You start to FEEL.
When we workout we cry, swear, scream, laugh and sometimes we just lay there unable to move.
Sometimes we need to be reminded to breathe...
Just. Like. Mental. Health!
Now I am not saying simply attending CrossFit will make everyone's mental health struggles just go away.
Not even close… I believe that you owe yourself one hour a day for self care. CrossFit, yoga, reading, dancing, writing, meditation, painting, music… whatever it is for you- you owe it to yourself!
One hour of your day. 1/24 of your day… less than 5%.
If your self care plan includes therapy- awesome! Medications or herbal supplements?- Great!
My point is that you need to be able to be and feel YOU.
I know from personal experience and that of hundreds of people we have trained, that exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.
We coach mindset just as much as we coach fitness. Our thoughts become our words and our words become actions.
I love that in our 1936 CHAMPS- Youth Empowerment~ we focus on repeating “I am strong” “I am confident”. In hopes that when the kiddos are faced with really hard situations those words are going through their head rather than “I can’t..” or “This is too hard”.
We coach that for our adults too!
May is mental health awareness month…
I challenge you to look at it as being aware of your own feelings, emotions and mental health- and NOT being judgmental in others. What I love most about the community that Sheldon and I have built is how fiercely the tribe of people show up to support, empower and encourage each other- in and out of the gym!
I encourage YOU to show up for others… and to seek the help of others when you need it. Check in on your friends, be kind to strangers and find a community of people that want you to succeed.
I hope you know you are capable and brave and significant~ even when it feels you are not.
“I believe that health is more than merely the absence of disease. It is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being.” ~ Dr. Frank Lipman
I joined CrossFit 1936 in January 2018, but have been a member of the CrossFit community (in Iowa) since 2014. Prior to starting CrossFit, I was physically active and looking back I would call myself “skinny fat” as I was not overweight but had no strength. I ran and was a member of a local rec center and primarily attended boot camp/aerobic classes.
Due to low numbers, they cancelled the classes. I knew I needed to do something, having a job that involves a lot of sitting and thinking my brain is tired at the end of the day but my body is not! I tend to feel very anxious when I don’t get my workout in. After a month of just running on the “dread-mill”, I was sitting next to a fellow Mom at a volleyball tournament who had joined CrossFit when they opened in January and she was hooked. Her progress both physically and mentally was amazing, she invited me with to try a free week of classes starting the next Monday and I agreed. By the 3rd day, I signed up. Hands down it has been one of the best investments and decisions I have made in my life. I was wrong about all my preconceived notions around CrossFit!
August 2018, we moved for work from Iowa to Wisconsin. I was learning a new job, unpacking, and getting a child settled into a new town/school- I thought I’d take a break (plus our school had a fitness center that was free to the community).
I’d be foolish not to use that right?!?...or so I thought. I tried that for a couple months along but with a lot of work travel, I noticed I was losing strength. I was also missing the connection of a CrossFit community, and my clothes were not fitting like they should.
I had my physical and was 10 lb heavier than the prior year! I decided it was time to do something more. I tried a punch card at another CrossFit box in the area, but it just didn’t feel like “home.” I decided to look into Crossfit 1936 as it was actually closer to where I live. I walked into Crossfit 1936 on a cold Friday night in January, introduced myself and my background. Sara invited me to stay for class. I don’t remember everyone who was in class that night… but I remember people being so welcoming!
I was hooked, I felt like I belonged, these were my kind of people- and what a great tribe members at Crossfit 1936 are!!!
Over the past 14 months, there have been days I wanted to quit, cry, or yell at Coach~ but he never stopped believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
Fitness-wise they have helped me improve my form on many lifts and become stronger both mentally and physically. I have accomplished moves I was not able to do before. When my heart rate gets high, my brain tells me to stop and take a break even though my body can push through. In the past, I have always used water or chalk, as a crutch for a break (even though I really didn’t need it). Coach Sheldon has taught me to be mentally strong and push through!
I owe so much credit to the coaches and members at CrossFit 1936 ~for believing in me and pushing me out of my comfort zone.
They have encouraged me to take risks; which has helped me in other personal and professional aspects of life.
I have built the confidence to stand up for myself and to be okay being a little uncomfortable speaking to a group.
I wish I could go back and show my high school PE teacher what I can do now. I clearly remember him telling us girls don’t pull ups during the fitness tests. Well- he has never met CrossFit girls!
If I can give a suggestion to those thinking about starting… We only get one body, invest in it now or pay for it later! I choose to lead an active healthy lifestyle not only for myself, but also to set an example for my daughter. I love that CrossFit doesn’t focus on the weight on the scale, but rather building strength and healthy habits.
The best part about CrossFit 1936- aside from it’s coaches is the community of members! They are not my relatives and I don’t work with them- and really have no connection other than at the box. Every single one of them are so happy for each other’s successes and so encouraging!!
It’s truly amazing.