Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
Since becoming a new mom, I feel like all I do is worry. Worry about showing up for my daughter in the way that she needs. Worrying about staying on top of work commitments and even being a good wife and friend. Which is why I often found myself burnt out, tired and anxious. Because the reality is that no matter how hard I tried, something would often get lost or left for last, and that thing was often me. Whilst I have always loved a good workout, I saw it more as a way to lose weight rather than a way to deal with anxiety. And while I did find that working out made me happier. I almost always focused on the physical results.
But then a month ago, I decided to start working out again after not doing so for a year. My mission was simple; I was going to workout for my mental health. Whilst I did have some weight to lose after giving birth. That was not my main priority. Instead, I told myself that if I could show up for myself every single day and workout (even for 20 minutes) I would have done something right. This new mindset gave me a new goal to look to. One that didn't care too much if I had the sweatiest workout, or if I was burning the most calories. Instead, I focused on rolling my yoga mat out and starting my app up for any number of workouts for that day.
And because weight loss was not my main priority, I dabbled in all kinds of workouts from high interval, to yoga and even simple stretches. This time I carved out made me feel like I was taking care of myself and filling my cup. Something I had failed to do for a while now. Since then, not only has my body changed. But my mind too. I also had some unexpected side effects that I never really thought about before but which I am loving now. Here are some of the benefits I have found from doing physical activity everyday.
- Increased fitness: This is a given, but I see how much my body has changed. Even more than it had before when I was working out. In part, I think because I often did modifications of moves I found hard and really focused on being present in my workouts. This also meant sometimes doing less reps but doing quality workouts.
- Increased libido: After having a baby I was sure I would never be able to have sex again. Not only was I exhausted but I didn't feel sexy or have a sex drive. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by how much my libido has increased in the past couple of weeks.
- More energy: Whilst no new mother will ever tell you they sleep enough. I do find that my energy and focus is much better now that I move my body everyday.
- Better sleep: Whilst I may not be clocking in 8 hours a night, I do find that the quality of my sleep is getting better.
- Drinking more water: As someone who struggles to get the recommended 8 glasses, I find that when I move my body every day, I can drink a ton of water. Not only during workouts but afterwards as well.