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Mental Health

How Exercise Helped My Mental Health

At the beginning of this crazy pandemic, I felt very anxious and overwhelmed because I'm a person who is usually very sociable and always attending after-school activities. My entire life I was constantly a social butterfly, but when COVID-19 hit, a lot changed. Almost suddenly, I was not able to be as social as I used to be. I couldn’t interact with my friends at school every day, I was stuck in my house with my family, who I love dearly, but was not used to spending that much time with them. All of these factors out together really led to a quick increase in my anxiety and depression. I would spend many days in bed all day, with no motivation to even walk downstairs. Despite all the hard work I had made in the past, I was diving deep back into my overwhelming pool of anxiety fast.

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This was until a neighbor, who I had essentially been quarantining with, suggested that we started going on daily walks, with masks on and six feet apart of course. I was never into working out, but I always loved a walk around the neighborhood and figured it would be nice to get out of the house and get some fresh air. These walks continued, and slowly started to help my mental health, I would even go on multiple walks a day, by myself, just to get out. 

Then the Chloe Ting challenge gained a lot of popularity on TikTok. I saw these people having amazing results, and I had always wanted to become more fit and improve my body, so I sent one of the TikToks to the friend I had been walking with, and we decided to do her two week shred challenge together. 

This challenge gave me the motivation to get up in the morning and get moving. Not only did it make me feel better mentally, but I also got results really fast. I had never been that toned in my life, and it was really nice to see. This boosted my confidence, which also boosted my mental health.

Obviously, as most things go for me, I eventually stopped working out every day like I had. Things got too busy with prom, graduation and moving into college. Once I moved into college, the anxiety I had quickly came crawling back, and I was once again stuck in my own head, scared to do anything. My doctor helped me out with some medication, but it still didn’t feel like enough. This was the moment I rediscovered working out, and also, my love for the gym. [bf_image id="jn75nfc8xj76ncn7k3326s4"]

I went to the gym on campus on a whim one day with some friends, because we all had wanted to check it out, but were too afraid to go alone. After that day, I became addicted to the gym and the way it made me feel. I started watching workout videos on TikTok, to figure out how to use machines that I had never used before at the gym, which I fell in love with. Machines are probably my favorite equipment at the gym now.

Exercising had once again given me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It made me excited because I wanted to feel the high that I felt after a good workout. That time to myself I receive in the gym to work on myself and to focus on myself helped me immensely this past year, and I’m going to continue to use it to my benefit, as I recommend you do as well. 

Aislinn Foran

Kent State '24

Aislinn Foran is a Junior Public Relations Major with minors in Women's Studies and Media Literacy. She is the current President of the Kent State Her Campus Chapter, as well as being apart of CHAARG and PRSSA. Aislinn loves all things social media and dreams of one day having her dream job in New York City.
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