The gym and mental health

I’m not an expert in mental health but I, like most of us have had my fair share of ups and downs and had to find ways to get through challenging times. Two years ago today my mother passed away. But today is not for suffering, of course there is pain but I choose in her honour not to suffer through that pain. Today I choose to remember her for the formidable woman that she was. She would like it that way. 

June 10th 2015 was one of the lowest points of my life with mum passing along with another situation which happened simultaneously. They say you can’t fall off the floor but I think you can… when that floor feels as if it’s being ripped away from underneath you. 

I tumbled into a deep sadness which could well have turned into depression but three days after it all happened, I got out of bed pulled on my gym kit and somehow managed to get to the gym. I could only manage 20 minutes, but that 20 minutes lifted my spirits and gave me hope that the dark feeling would in time pass. And it  felt like I could get through the incessant crashing waves of the ‘abyss’ stage of grief and loss.
Each day I went to the gym, and trained for as long as my feelings would allow. I had a good gym routine before it all happened and so was already going a few times a week, but carrying on when I really didn’t feel like it and pushing through was a real saving grace for me.
I continue to go to the gym regularly today. I like the physical changes that I see and feel but above all of that it’s the mental affect which has had the biggest impact on me. I gym four or five times a week most weeks, even getting up at 4.30am if I have an early work start. I feel that gym/dance/movement is such an integral part of good mental health. And it can help you get through the most challenging of times also. Once you get the habit it’s such a gift, but it took me years and years to get the habit. 
I used to fanny around on cardio machines with no purpose and no results and it was only when I started to lift weights that I began to really see the huge and  multi-faceted benefits of lifting heavy.  I would love to inspire even if only one person to venture into the gym and start lifting weights. It’s a total life changer. I Had a great session today… and I can’t wait to do another one tomorrow. I really hope that some of you will try it and eventually fall in love with it as much as I have. Have you tried it yet? What exercise do you do?  And mum if you’re listening I miss you!

Big love 

Lorraine xxx 

Please excuse typos. Written on my iPhone 

32 Comments

  1. Sue Porter
    10th June 2017 / 9:25 pm

    Aww that was lovely, what lovely way to honour your mum. I too have and still experience challenging situations and my escape is to walk, plug my phone in my ears with music or an audio book and just walk. Stay strong lovely and remember she’s watching over you xx

    • 11th June 2017 / 12:37 am

      Thank you so much and yes walking Is such a good way!xxx keep
      Going!!

  2. 10th June 2017 / 9:50 pm

    I needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing x

  3. 10th June 2017 / 10:23 pm

    Tu madre educó a una gran mujer. Donde esté, estará contenta.

  4. Sharron
    10th June 2017 / 10:24 pm

    Hi Lorraine, I lost my mum in December last year, it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I know it’s still early days but some days I really feel like what’s the point! Mum was a huge part of my daily routine and now I need to fill my time. After reading your blog I have decided to give it a go! I’m going to go back to the gym and see how if it can help me too. I have 2 grown up kids who I love and adore, I need to get out of this (whatever this is) for them as well as myself.
    Thanks for the blog, you’ve inspired me to give it a go!
    Big love xxx

    • 11th June 2017 / 12:34 am

      Hi there
      I am so happy to hear this. It’s not easy but having the routine has helped me so so much. Have a great evening and thanks for writing!xx

  5. Natalie
    11th June 2017 / 5:36 am

    Hi Lorraine, that is very inspiring. I do Yoga not so regularly,but when I can, I do it. It helps to make me rest better and I feel more flexible. After reading your article, it makes me want to workout even more! I love your Instagram and Insta Story too. Love, Natalie

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:13 pm

      HI Natalie!
      Thank you SO much for writing this. It all helps so so much getting this kind of feedback. Yoga is good but I just cannot get in to it but I really want to. I hope you do workout more too.. I love it! Have a great day and thanks again xx

  6. Caroline
    11th June 2017 / 8:05 am

    Please write more Lorraine!! You’ve got such an enormous amount to offer others, you really can help people. Can you guide us on the weights? I started using them in classes and know they work but I’m shy of using the heavy stuff in the gym! I’m sure lots of us would love your advice on starting out. I’ve read some of your blog, please keep inspiring!! You are a beautiful and unique lady xx

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:11 pm

      Wow! I am blushing. Thank you so so much. I really appreciate it. I will do a guide on weights for sure. I just need the help of a professional to do it so I make sure I am saying the right thing. Anyway thanks once again for your kind words.. have a lovely lovely day xx

  7. Anisha
    11th June 2017 / 8:34 am

    Hi Lorraine, I lost my dad five years ago and just like you gymming helped me get through. Is it possible for u to share more of your workouts, weights as well as cardio , will help me and I’m sure many people. You look stunning!

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:11 pm

      HI there I am sorry for your loss and so glad that the gym helped you too. I will be sharing some workouts and stuff from my trainer. Have a wonderful day!xx And thank you 🙂 xx

  8. Emma
    11th June 2017 / 11:16 am

    This was a lovely read. It’s so hard when you lose a parent. I lost my dad 6 years ago now, the first year was so hard and I couldn’t think about him without getting upset but now when I think of him I think of all the happy memories which makes me smile.
    You look great by the way and well done. I do T25 5-6 times a week I love it!! I also make cakes too like you 😊

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:10 pm

      Hi there! So you like cakes too 🙂 That is great. Wonderful to see you are doing that t25 I hear it is super hard! Good for you and thank so much for sharing with me xx

  9. Jenni
    11th June 2017 / 6:12 pm

    Well done you for sharing this with us. It’s really is good to share, that old cliché ! So many of us feel so alone at traumatic times in our lives.
    I want to lift weights, but scared of bulking up !? So like u said too, l stick to the cardio machines 😖

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:09 pm

      Thank you! And yes I totally agree with what you say. Lifting weights is fun and it takes an awful lots to bulk up as you would have to eat lots of protein all day long to feed the muscle so it is very hard to get bulky. Cardio is good too though! Have a great day xx

  10. Richard Rawlings
    11th June 2017 / 6:57 pm

    Dear Lorraine,

    I am the youngest of 5 children and sadly only 2 of us left. Both my parents have died from heart disease and 2 brothers also. My surviving brother had a quad bypass age 44,he’s now 62 and I had a heart attack age 39,I’m now 54.
    I have always been fit and sporty,never smoked and tried to watch what I eat.
    Reached my lowest ebb last year when my best friend passed away from bowel cancer and less than 3 weeks later one brother died.
    My mum was the strongest,most caring person I have ever met and was always putting others first,a true inspiration,so your words about your mum really struck a nerve.
    Like you I have tried various cardio exercises with mixed results. I do take medication but it dies not stop me from doing what I want.
    i lost all motivation last year and spent time just feeling sorry for myself and not wanting to do anything. After reading your blog I feel inspired to get back into it again. I was at a real low ebb but your so right in what you say.
    It’s obviously working for you,you look amazing.
    You are not only beautiful in the outside Lorraine but inside too.
    Your mum would be so proud of you.
    I wish you every success,you deserve it.
    Best regards

    Richard

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:08 pm

      Hello, Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. You have been through so much and are so strong. I am so happy you feel inspired again to get back in to it. Its the small things done each day which I find help at these times. Sounds like you are doing some great things… Thank you again for what You said, it was lovely. I hope you can have a good day today. Lorraine

  11. Dee
    11th June 2017 / 8:16 pm

    I do yoga and pilates. Just in the past week I swam 4 days in a row. 14-24 lengths but I’m aiming for 30 a day as I did years ago. I found grieving was my worst time and I’ve given into sadness but I’m consciously working hard on being free again. My body doesn’t look great and I feel more confident. I appreciate it and am getting close to loving me(sounds twee I know!).

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:06 pm

      Thank you so much for writing I very much appreciate it. Sounds like your routine is great! And pilates is really awesome to as is swimming. Loving me does not sound twee! it is such a hard thing to do for me too! I like to start off with bits of me that ‘I like’ which is easier to go full out right ‘love’ initially. Some days are better than others but I am on the right track and it sounds like you are too! Lots of love x

  12. Angela
    12th June 2017 / 2:15 am

    I came across this post by chance. I can relate to every word you speak. Although my mom passed in 2009, it sometimes feels like yesterday. It took me a moment to move past her not being here. I spoke to my mom about everything, three, four times a day…she was my best friend. While I miss her every day, I know she lives on in me.

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:05 pm

      Hi Angela, thank you so much for writing this to me. I really appreciate it. And your words are so true. Have a good day xxxxx

  13. sherri
    12th June 2017 / 3:15 pm

    You appear to be such a lovely person from your persona that you demonstrate through media.

    So sorry to hear of your Mother’s passing.

    I’m currently losing my mom more and more as each day passes now. She is declining each day from dementia. I’ve really lost her and it breaks my heart. Yesterday she didn’t recognize my dad…

    Your mom will always remain and live on in your heart girl.

    Hugs

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:04 pm

      bless you! And thank you so much for writing. I really appreciate it. So sorry you and your family are going through this xxx

  14. Jenny
    12th June 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Lorraine, I thank you so much for writing the blog, I lost my mum & so wanted to kill myself today. I miss her so much. I’m looking for motherly figures who can give me the same love.

    My mother died Februry 27th 2017, since her death first 2 months I have been in bed crying, going through a sad deep depression.

    I used to go to Church regularly every Sunday, I lost faith as I lost so much.

    My beloved mother gave me unconditional love that is so hard to find.

    I used to love walking. I had peace & contentment in my life. I was so happy last year.

    I lost my partner a year ago. It is too much.

    You’re so strong. God bless you.

    all my love

    Jenny

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 6:02 pm

      Hello there,
      Thank you so much for sharing with me. I very much appreciate the kind words you have said. And what a great woman you are! I am strong on some days and not so strong on other days. I do feel like I want to duvet dive sometimes and not face the world. You sound so so strong the fact that you even wrote this to me shows me how strong you are too. I got through those days by doing the small things. Like some days just brushing my teeth and then going back to bed was all I could do and I would reward myself mentally. I kept repeating the mantra that my mum said to me that ‘this too shall pass’. And slowly but surely it really did… even though I did not feel like it I would reach out to people and get up and go to the gym when I could or make a phone call to someone. There were also some helplines which I my friends told me about which are really good too. Thank you so much for writing xxxxx

  15. Clive Temple
    12th June 2017 / 11:54 pm

    I have suffered from OCD and concurrent severe depression for many years. I went really down hill back in 2009 following the death of my father who I loved deeply. I then had a major relapse last September. It was so bad I tried to commit suicide on several occasions. My marriage disintegrated and I was in a mental institution for a period of time. What and who has kept me going? Well I am now starting the climb out of the deep dark pit. I am doing this in part through getting busier and busier. When I am up to it I will start going to the gym and the swimming pool. You are absolutely right that exercise is good for the mind and the soul. You release endorphins through exercise. This is good for mental health as well as physical health. Beyond medication and therapy the most important factor in recovery is your friends. OCD attempts to isolate you. You withdraw from the world. You think this makes you safe from the terrible anxiety you suffer. It is a false notion. All it does is make the OCD more powerful and you less so. My greatest friend is my mum, Jeanne. She is 86 years young and a real full on girl who works hard and plays hard. She only recently gave up competitive motorsport. I owe my life to my mum. She brought me into this world and she has kept me in it. So exercise and mums are the key to well being. Much love to you for posting this inspirational piece. I hope others will benefit too.

    • admin
      18th June 2017 / 5:57 pm

      Wow, thank you so so much for sharing with me. It sounds great that you have the support of your mum and that you have the strength yourself also to climb out of and away from the situation you were. Exercise is totally awesome. I love it so much. I very much appreciate you writing this to me and for your kind worlds. Lorraine 🙂

  16. joanie hsuean
    25th July 2017 / 4:05 pm

    i love watching you on the baking championship show. You are super cute and super fair in judgement. I also love your way of life. I walk daily. I have to motivate and inspire myself. I used to be 210 lbs and through a lot of hardwork and diabetes fighting, eight years later, I am now 127. I have a cheat day which is sunday and i get to eat the foods i bake. I love it. Thank you for being inspirational. you are the best!

    • admin
      5th August 2017 / 10:36 am

      HI,
      Thanks so much for your email. You have achieved so much with your weight loss! Amazing. So good. I would like to say a big thank you to you for writing this and being so inspiring yourself. Have a wonderful day x

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