REAL TALK ABOUT FITNESS & MENTAL HEALTH

REAL TALK ABOUT FITNESS & MENTAL HEALTH

Hey! Below is the transcript from episode three of my podcast Jesus. Coffee. Barbells.™ If you want to listen to the episode instead of reading the transcript, you can click the below link and listen on Spotify, or on your favorite podcast platform!

Hello! Welcome to episode 3 of Jesus Coffee & Barbells™. My name is Coach Amber George and I am from coachambergeorge.com. It’s time for episode three of this podcast where I do my best to take the guesswork out of your fitness journey.

As always, any information that I give you should NOT be considered medical advice. I am a certified coach and trainer; not a medical doctor or healthcare provider. Any information that you decide to use is based on your own decision and at your own risk.

Especially in this episode, if you struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and/or depression, it’s important to reach out to get help and find a support system.

TO BE HONEST, THIS EPISODE IS ACTUALLY NOT WHAT I WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO TALK ABOUT. I ORIGINALLY HAD EPISODE 3 PLANNED TO BE AN EPISODE ABOUT LIFTING HEAVY AND HOW IT WON’T MAKE YOU BULKY AND HOW EMPOWERING LIFTING HEAVY IS, ETC.

And, I was actually supposed to record the episode this past weekend. But, that didn’t happen. My mental health kicked in and I needed a few mental health days.

Now, the way that I said that, it actually kind of sounds a bit romantic, doesn’t it. “I needed a few mental health days”.

The truth of the matter is, it was anything but romantic. I was sta-ruggling. My head was in a space that was less than ideal.

No matter what I did, I could not get myself to ‘cheer up’. I was in a head space where all I wanted to do was lay in bed, and binge watch dramatic shows. Which, for anybody that knows me, is not who I am as a person.

My typical head space is being productive. I absolutely love feeling accomplished and setting goals for myself and smashing them. Even if it’s as simple as, today, I will do every load of laundry. Wash dry and fold. To as complicated as, starting by own business and doing well and everything in between.

Mental Health and Physical Fitness | How I Deal with Mental Health Ups & Downs

I AM IN CONSTANT COMPETITION WITH MYSELF. TO BETTER MYSELF AND ‘BE BETTER’. TO BEAT MYSELF IN MY OWN GAME. EVEN IF THE GAME IS AS STUPID AS RACING TO GET SOMETHING DONE WHILE MY COFFEE IS BEING WARMED UP IN THE MICROWAVE.

Before we go any farther in this episode I think it’s vitally important that we clear a few things up. I have been an anxious person my entire life. The depression that I tend to struggle with is hormone related due to my autoimmune disease that I have and the fact that I am one of the rare women that is peri-menopausal in her early 30s.

There are some women that their anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues have nothing to do with those things. It’s vitally important to know where your mental health struggle comes from and learn how to cope. That is where having a healthcare professional on your support team is going to be absolutely essential to your success in handling and dealing with mental health.

I am not a medical professional, but, I am happy for my podcast or blog to be part of your support team. Make sense? If what I have to say helps you feel better and can give you tips, awesome. But it’s important to have that medical help as well.

SO, IT USED TO BE THAT THERE WAS THIS STIGMA AROUND MENTAL HEALTH. WHERE YOU DID YOUR BEST TO HIDE THAT YOU WERE STRUGGLING. YOU PASTED A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND GRITTED YOUR TEETH AND BORE IT.

Times have changed, but we still have a long way to go.

Now, it seems to be a constant bombardment of people saying that they have mental health issues, and it is romanticized and the realness and rawness of dealing with a struggle in your brain really isn’t discussed because it can make people uncomfortable.

Here’s how a conversation or an Instagram post about ‘mental health’ typically goes.

The first thing about the post is this obnoxiously pretty picture that is probably a selfie in a mirror where the person is perfectly posed or they’re staring off into the sky looking rather thoughtful. Obviously perfectly staged.

Then the first sentence is something like “It’s okay to not be okay” or “It’s okay to be mentally exhausted. Then some crazy long caption about their struggle and it ends with another cliché” or my favorite “I’ve been getting so many questions about how I deal with my mental struggles…”

ALL THE WHILE, EVERYTHING IS PERFECTLY LIT, PERFECTLY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY.

And, if that is helpful to you, that’s awesome. I’m so glad it does. But for the vast majority, I’m willing to bet that it isn’t just unhelpful, it’s actually detrimental.

Ever hear of the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words?”  Absolutely. This is where it’s applicable. Especially when it comes to mothers, when they’re sitting there holding their child with a perfectly lit room and her hair is washed and perfectly perfect and their house is spotless and clean….. Your words say you’re struggling, but your actions don’t say so. So, you actually have no idea what I’m going through.

What’s even worse is when there is a clearly staged photo where she is trying to appear to struggle and talk about all the struggles of motherhood, when you can still quite clearly see it’s staged. So, then it really makes you question your sanity and if you really are the only one that is truly struggling. The only one that is crying on her way to the coffee pot in the morning because the thought of going through another day at this moment is mentally draining.

Where you feel like you’re the only one that wants to constantly nap and is struggling with the notion of running away because you believe your family will be better off you.

STOP. THE. MADNESS.

Overcoming Body Image Issues | 2 Steps to Gaining Your Confidence Back

You are not the only one that is struggling. You are not the only one crying on her way to the coffee pot. You’re not the only one who wants to run away. You aren’t.

I am learning more and more to loathe social media such as Instagram and Facebook. The constant barrage of pictures that are screaming “LOOK AT ME!!” is exhausting. The fakeness is astounding and what’s worse are those that try to appear genuine and are anything but genuine.

IT’S TIME TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. IT’S TIME TO NOT ONLY BE OKAY AGAIN, IT’S TIME TO THRIVE AGAIN. AND BELIEVE ME, THESE STEPS ARE WHAT I AM CURRENTLY DOING TO OVERCOME MY BATTLE AS WELL.

  1. Pray about it. Now, before you just say omg I HAVE and it’s not working. Hear me out. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” Tell Him right now that you don’t know how to cast your worries on Him. Ask Him to help you learn how to give over the need for control and give over all the anxieties and depression and whatever else you’re struggling with.
  2. Get in touch with your medical professional. For me, my medical professional is two fold – it’s an endocrinologist and a gynecologist. Because they are watching two physical health issues that are causing the mental health piece. If you aren’t sure where to start in regards to who to contact in the medical field, might I suggest starting with your pcp and see what they say. Because, again, I’m not a medical professional, they will know the best place to start in regards to bloodwork, etc.
  3. Plan for 3 – 30-45 minute workouts per week. I highly recommend weight training for these workouts. Because we want to get wicked strong and the pushing and pulling of the weights has really helped keep my mental health, as well as those of my clients in check. When I don’t have my regular workouts during the week, it takes a serious toll. Now, I always recommend having a plan for yourself. I have in my online store instantly-downloadable workout plans. There are home workout plans, gym workout plans, no equipment workout plans, running plans. There is everything in there that you could choose from and they are all super affordable. Go to coachambergeorge.com/shop to browse around.
  4. Schedule in some ‘me time’ everyday. What??? Yes, everyday. Me time doesn’t have to be some big elaborate thing. But, it is about 15 minutes every single day where you set the kids up doing something that you know they will be safe and sound or wait until your man gets home and take 15 minutes and get away from everything. Go into your closet or your bathroom and eat a small treat, or drink a cup of tea, or just sit and stare at the wall. But don’t scroll social media, don’t do anything but be alone with your thoughts or a book or pray. Really decompress. You’ll be AMAZED at what that 15 minutes can do for your everyday well being. Why is this me time so important?
    • Even if we are not sleeping during our ‘me time’. It gives us time to ourselves and gives us the time to recharge our batteries. Sleeping is not the only way to recharge your batteries. I’ll tell ya, a good session of lifting some heavy things in the gym or going for a solid run really helps me get my mind right.
    • This me time is important because it helps me not to be cranky and easily angered. I homeschool my son, and I need to be fully in control of myself and not easily annoyed. Because it is my job as his mother and teacher to create a safe environment for him while he is doing school in the home and playing. A safe environment where he can what I call fail forward. Because failure is part of learning and success. It’s my job to be an encourager and teacher and mother. Plus, my blessed husband doesn’t deserve the crankiness either. He and I work together on making sure he gets me time after being at work all day and I get my me time after running a business and homeschooling our son all day. Yes. It’s THAT important.
    • This me time also teaches our children boundaries. This is a BIG ONE, so listen up! Whether we like it or not, kids will mimic and imitate what they see and hear. If we are constantly running ourselves into the ground by saying yes to everything and running from this commitment to that commitment, then they will think that it is perfectly normal to do the same and will grow up to be anxiety and stress filled adults. When our children see that mommy and daddy take for themselves and it helps her recharge her batteries and she is setting boundaries for how she lives her life, they in turn will see that benefit and will imitate it. It’s interesting, because there was once a family that I knew where the mother was great about setting aside time for herself a few times per week to go workout and/or get her nails done or something like that. There were a few weeks that got away from her and she didn’t get it done and her children and husband actually told her to go and take time for herself. This family could see the difference that the ‘me time’ made for her and they jumped in to help her course correct and help her adjust from having said ‘yes’ to too many things. It was because she had inadvertently taught her children boundaries, that her children SAW the boundaries being stretched and the negative impact it had on her. So they talked to their dad and they went to their mom and got her back on the schedule that worked.
  5. Okay – let’s move on to number 5. Talk to somebody about how you’re feeling. It could be your spouse, or a girlfriend. If you’re married, never confide in someone who is the opposite sex from you. But talk to someone, someone you can trust and that won’t judge you. Someone you can be real with. Keep those lines of communication open. Remember to keep it to one person and someone that you can trust. Yes, a therapist counts in this category. It must be somebody you can trust that you can be sure that what you say to them won’t go past them.
  6. Spend time in the Word daily. Whether that means grabbing a daily devotional type Bible study from an awesome author like Lysa Teurkurst or Beth Moore or Priscilla Shier to help guide your study, it’s so important to open up the Word and read it every single day. He is the great Physician of all things – spiritual, mental, and physical and it is very possible that this journey will take time and it most definitely will take effort. But He will be there with you every step of the way.
  7. Last but not least, make time for some self care once per month. Such as going to get your hair done, or your nails, or a pedicure, or something like that. Now, self care is way more than getting your hair and nails done which we’ll talk about in just a minute. But this can seriously help improve your mental health. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, it has this cool affect on your mental health.

LET’S ADDRESS SOMETHING REALLY FAST. IF YOU’LL REMEMBER, I TALKED ABOUT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PODCAST ABOUT ALL THE PERFECT PICTURES ON INSTAGRAM AND THAT MORE REALISTIC PHOTOS WOULD BE THOSE THAT WEREN’T STAGED…

I want to be clear about something… I am ALL for self care. In fact, there is rarely a day that I don’t put on makeup. Granted, it’s minimal makeup and very natural type makeup, but it is makeup. Because this makes me feel better about myself. Therefore, it helps my mental health.

All I was saying was that fakeness is not helpful to our mental health, and if looking at those pictures of the staged perfection affects your mental health, it’s vital that you unfollow them.

TO FINISH, I’M GOING TO READ YOU SOMETHING THAT I WROTE ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO. IT’S AN OPEN AND RAW LETTER THAT I WROTE TO STRUGGLING MOTHERS EVERYWHERE.

“Hey, mama. How are you today? If you’re here reading this, my guess is that you’ve had a rough day. Don’t feel bad, I’ve had a pretty terrible day myself and to be honest? I feel like a bad mom to my toddler.

And after putting my son down for his nap today, I went to my room and laid on my bed, shoes an all (what a freak, right??) and just stared ahead.

I simply needed a minute to let my mind just relax, wander, and to be honest – cry my eyes out.

Once I had my cry, I thought about my other fellow mamas and got up and came into my office and sat down to write to you.

Yes, you. The woman on the other side of this screen holding her cup of coffee for dear life with her hair in an obscene pineapple on top of her head, wondering if she’s doing this whole ‘mom thing’ right. The one that thinks “I feel like a bad mom to my toddler”.

The very fact that you’re wondering these things, tells me that you’re on the right track.

I’ve always been told that if you’re not tired being a parent and if your children like you, then you’re probably doing it wrong. To which I always thought was the stupidest notion in the world. Why wouldn’t my children like me? I’m pretty cool, right? Why would I have to be tired all of the time? I thought this was an idiotic notion.

Until I had my child.

My sweet, baby boy that I would quite literally give my last breath for right now if I needed to.

You see, my child is about to be three and has one of the strongest wills I’ve ever seen in a person. Which is saying something because of who his mother, father, and maternal grandpa are… Well, really both sides of our families are pretty stubborn. So, he got a nice big dose of strong will.

Since he was born, my own will, patience and determination have been pushed past the limit I never knew existed.

There have been days where I’ve thought, “I’m totally screwing this child up.” Or “I’m the worst mother in the world.” Or “What are we doing wrong as parents? Why is he acting like this?”

Answer? He’s a child.

And, it’s okay that he’s a child.  Should he be disrespectful? Of course not. That’s where explanation and discipline come in.

At the same time, he doesn’t understand why he’s not supposed to speak really loudly in a quiet doctor’s office. He doesn’t understand why mama and daddy have to tell him no, he can’t play in the lightning storm, because all his little eyes can see is that there is water falling from the sky; and he loves water and outside and it’s not naptime or bedtime – ergo, he should be able to play outside. He doesn’t understand the need for bedtime, or why he needs to mind mama and daddy, or why throwing a tennis ball at the TV is wrong.

It’s our job as the parents to teach him these things with patience, love, and respect.

Yes, respect. He has feelings too.

Does this mean roll over and let him run the house? Nope.

But, he is a human being that we will get much further with if provided respect as a human while keeping the proper parent-child relationship.

His innate nature is to do wrong because of the fall of man with Adam and Eve. With that fall, God gave the responsibility of teaching each and every generation to the parents.

Not the schools, not the government, not the nanny’s or babysitters, not even to the church… He gave it to the parents.

This translates to utter exhaustion from trying to raise a decent human being who loves on others in the way Jesus would have him love on them, respects proper authority and challenges wrong ‘authority’ and knowing the difference between the two, and who works hard to provide for himself and his family.

Raising an adult (not a child, you’re raising an adult) also translates to your child not liking you sometimes simply because they don’t understand why you have to do the things you sometimes have to do for their own good, because you love them more than the very air that you breathe.

Being a parent is also about finding the balance between giving them responsibility that is age appropriate and allowing them to be a child.

Our society expects WAY too much out of our children and our children are losing their childhood. Which translates to another layer of exhaustion because you’re afraid of giving them too much at once or not enough.

I’m writing this after one of the worst days we’ve had in a long time. The tantrums, tears (on both sides), and screaming have been so real.

So real, that I feel like a bad mom to my toddler

My hair is so greasy that we could end the oil crisis. I’ve got an energy drink on my desk because I’m about to just fall out of my chair. My face is streaked with mascara and my shirt has holes in it.  I cried to my husband at lunch while his steady voice and hand soothed me and reminded me we’re doing all the right things and that we have to trust our Father to honor our effort and will grow him into the man that He wants him to be, we just have to be consistent in our guidance and loving our boy through the hard stuff.

It was then that I realized that I shouldn’t have the “I feel like a bad mom to my toddler” mentality, I needed to change my focus to “I am a mom to my active little boy”.

So, mama. This is to you.

The mama who has been pushed to the limit, you feel like a failure, you’re overwhelmed, the dishes in your sink are probably starting to smell, and have greasy hair… You’re not alone. Hang in there. And while you’re at it, grab another cup of coffee because, you might as well, right?

And besides, the cup of coffee that you left in the microwave yesterday is probably bad now anyway. 😉

THAT’S IT. THAT’S THE END OF THE LETTER. I READ YOU THAT BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT ANY BETTER THAN WHAT I HAD ALREADY WRITTEN.

And, as you can see from the pic below, we were struggling while trying to take a pic. It’s called real life.

Take control of your mental health. I know that sometimes it feels like it’s not possible to take control of your mental health. But it is. You CAN do this. Reach out for help. Take the steps we talked about:

  1. Praying about it
  2. Reaching out to your healthcare provider for recommendations for a therapist or bloodwork, or whatever they think needs to be done. Let them make the medical recommendation specific to you
  3. Plan for 3-4 30-45 minute workouts per week. Remember that I have a lot of workout plan options in my online store. Coachambergeorge.com/shop Weight training has done wonders for my mental health and for other people that I have known and for clients.
  4. Schedule in 15 minutes of me time
  5. Talk to somebody you can trust about how you’re feeling. Whether that is your spouse, your best girlfriend, or a therapist. Keep lines of communication open with someone you can trust
  6. Spend tiem in the Word daily. Whether that means grabbing a daily devotional type Bible study from an awesome author like Lysa Teurkurst or Beth Moore or Priscilla Shier to help guide your study, it’s so important to open up the Word and read it every single day. He is the great physican of all things – spiritual, mental, and physical and it is very possible that this journey will take time and it most definitely will take effort. But He will be there with you every step of the way.
  7. Last but not least, make time for some self care once per month. Such as going to get your hair done, or your nails, or a pedicure, or something like that. Now, self care is way more than getting your hair and nails done which we’ll talk about in just a minute. But this can seriously help improve your mental health. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, it has this cool affect on your mental health.

Listen to me. You’re not alone. Jesus promises to never leave you or forsake you.

You CAN take control of your mental health. Your mental health is a huge portion of this journey. Stay the course. Psalm 94:19 says “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

My name is Coach Amber George. Be sure to like and follow this podcast to make sure that you know when a new episode comes out! Head over to my website coachambergeorge.com/podcast for more information on recommended products and where you can sign up for my email list to get some freebies. You’ve been listening to Jesus. Coffee. Barbells.™ Remember, you are loved and stronger than you ever thought possible.