Letting Go of Guilt and Anxiety

Letting Go of Guilt and Anxiety

coffee-cup-bed-bedroomI slept really poorly last night. This morning instead of waking up early enough to get up to go to the gym before work like planned, I half-asleep changed my alarm to give me an extra hour instead, and instantly fell back asleep. Had this happened a few months ago, I would have woken up with anxiety about my decision to postpone my workout and instead stay in bed a bit longer before going into work. Until about a year ago, I did not think I had the ability to make exercise a consistent part of my life. Like many people, I would dabble in a yoga class here and there, and half-heartedly go to the gym a few times a year. After an extremely intense year, where I wasn’t taking care of myself, I experienced crushing burnout. One of the ways that I was able to dig myself out of the hole I was in was to make a commitment to my health, as I was neglecting that to focus on my work at full speed. One of the several lifestyle changes I made was to start exercising three times a week in the morning before work. This was a highly intentional decision, and completely different than any approach I had ever taken to exercising. I never considered myself to be a morning person, so working out then was completely foreign. I knew that I had to make the commitment to exercise in the morning because I would not have not followed through on a consistent basis if it was after work or some other time in the day. Either I was completely serious about changing my life, and would make the sacrifice to get up earlier than I was used to in the morning or I was going to remain mired in the cycle that was making me sick and exhausted all the time. This is why canceling on one of my workouts or even postponing it to later in the day would make me feel anxious. Anxiety is unrealized fear. I realized that the anxiety was manifesting itself because I was afraid that even missing one workout would result in my return to that dark place I had found myself in when I was burning out. It was as if I couldn’t really believe my own progress, and in the back of my mind I was always questioning when it would all go away. This defeatist attitude was only hindering my progress to overall better health and diminishing those guilty thoughts has really been crucial to improving my outlook. I now feel confident that one missed day of exercise does not mean a future destined to be a couch potato, just one where a little more sleep is needed here and there.

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