No, fitness is not your “therapy”.
Before you come for me, hear me out.
🤔We demonize the act of diving head first into a tub of ice cream to cope with a shit day or soothe a case of the feels, but we celebrate the idea of hitting the gym for the same reasons.
We do this for several reasons, but the primary one is that when taken WITHOUT context, one of those outlets seems “healthier”.
But lest we forget: HEALTH IS CONTEXTUAL.
💁🏼♀️So let’s add that in just for funsies.
When you’re feeling less than great and looking for an outlet, both the ice cream and the gym are playing an IDENTICAL role, and this is important:
To distract, to avoid, to numb, or to otherwise appeal to your primal instinct to RUN from discomfort. When we do this, we tend to reach for something that will light up our reward centers FAST.
This comes in many flavors. Food. Booze. Scrolling. And yes, even fitness.
It gets all the Feel Goods flowing through your body and brain, acting as short term pleasure and reward.
And HEY. There is nothing inherently wrong with this! You are entitled to ALL the pleasure in the world my dear.
But. If you are using fitness as your sole release, soother, or escape, you are STILL running.
You are not letting yourself process. You are seeking fast reward (ice cream!), and in doing so, avoiding the REAL (uncomfortable) work that your mind and heart are telling you needs attention.
But isn’t a workout a better option than ice cream? Maybe. But maybe not. Again: context.
Are you are taking an already stressed body and piling more stress (exercise!) on top of it, over and over and over again?
This is when your workout can be actively working AGAINST your greater health, no matter how refreshing it feels in the moment.
So keep sweating and moving, but start tuning in to what is driving you.
If it’s because it’s an escape, I implore you to stop running and start showing up for the deeper work.
Whether that’s ACTUAL therapy, working with a coach (hi), or just letting yourself process fully, don’t forget that your emotional fitness counts too.
And it requires its OWN work.
For more on this, listen to episode 67 of SHE THRIVES RADIO, all about Emotional Fitness.