March 18, 2019

What Are You Training For? Removing the “Self” Stigma From Self-Care

There is a lot of confusion about what all this self-care talk is all about. Is it about living a life where you do whatever you want? Nope. Is it about indulging in something without consequences? Not that either. I think people get stuck on the “self” part and forget that it’s attached to the word “care.” Taking care of oneself is not selfish. In fact, it’s not only a great service to your own well-being but to your ability to support others.

Self-care is also about discipline. Yup. It’s knowing when to say ‘no’ when your time or emotional energy is spread too thin. Or maybe it’s saying ‘no’ to that last drink on Wednesday night because you know you’ll sleep better or feel better the next day. It is also about setting the alarm and getting your butt out the door to your 6 am Tight Club class. It is also as simple and important as acknowledging to yourself that you are doing the best you can, and maybe today you need to rest and take care of your mental health. Whatever is on your list, one thing is for sure, self-care is a thoughtful practice about honouring what you need in order to feel healthy both in mind and body. Nothing selfish about that.

What Are You Training For? For many, mental wellness isn’t an easy thing to talk about or manage. We checked-in with our Tight Club community to learn more about how you prioritize mental wellness, alongside your fitness goals and learned so many great insights and perspectives. Thank you to our community for being vulnerable and open about your challenges. Today Charmaine and Kate share some of their perspectives and we are so grateful for their insights and willingness to share.

Charmaine Bell-Irving

4 years at Tight Club
Favourite Class: Tight Sweat

How much do you think about or prioritize your mental wellness/health?

It’s been a really fun and tough year for me, so this year it’s been a much bigger priority for me to think about it. I had a wedding to plan for and we sold our apartment and bought a new place and I also had a miscarriage, had to change jobs and now some happier news is coming. So definitely taking care of myself has been a priority this year, wherein the past I've mostly just done things for other people. So this year I’ve definitely switched modes and thought more about myself.

Do you practice self-care? If yes or no, what do you/ or wish to do to bring more mental wellness to your life?

I definitely signed-up for those regular classes every morning at 6 am, just making that a regular routine. Getting that done first thing in the morning is something that I can absolutely control. The rest of the day if things don’t really go my way, I feel like at least I accomplished that one thing. I’m also learning to say no to more things and making sure that whatever I do makes me happy. But yes, giving myself more downtime and prioritizing my own health over pleasing other people all the time is important.

How does fitness make you feel both physically and mentally?

This year because of all those highs and lows, being active at Tight Club on a regular basis has really physically, emotionally and mentally prepared me to take on any adventure or challenge that’s come my way. Whether it be the physical demands of the miscarriage, or just getting through those longs days at work, just being able to handle all of that has really been a source for helping to show me that I’m strong and taught me how to be mentally tough and persevere through any sort of challenge. So it’s really built some strong physical and mental strength for me. I definitely feel more physically prepared to take on the new pregnancy, and all sorts of unknown changes that I feel prepared for.

What do you wish more people would talk openly about when it comes to mental wellness/health? Are there any issues that are of special significance to you?

Definitely, for myself, I felt a lot of relief telling people about the miscarriage. It helped me learn more about what happened and getting a lot of support from other people. For myself that was really important to not internalize everything and try to feel like I can deal with everything by myself. It’s not to project my challenges to other people, but it was really therapeutic to say it out loud. It helped normalize it and I also felt supported and understood by other people, without feeling I had to be carrying these secrets around. So feeling that the other person was guessing that there was something going on, I was just clear, and they also felt connected and also privileged to have that information. Then they feel open to share their challenges with me. I shared it with people at Tight Club, and we see each other at 6 am and it just felt like a family where sharing that felt really good because you could sense the amount of support from everyone.

Kate Lollar

5 years at Tight Club
Favourite Class: The Athlete

How much do you think about or prioritize your mental wellness/health?

It’s something that I think about constantly I would say and it’s something that I really try to prioritize. I think to be my best self to my friends and family is something that is really important to me and also to be kind and accepting of myself as well. It’s something that I’ve learned benefits me so I’ve really tried to take time to do things that are good for my mental health.

Do you practice self-care? If yes or no, what do you/ or wish to do to bring more mental wellness to your life?

I do. I think it sometimes depends on my mood. I’m a pretty shy person, but I am extroverted in the sense that I do get energy from being around other people. So self-care to me means sometimes reaching out to a friend and connecting with them on a more meaningful level I would say. If it’s going for dinner, doing something active, getting outside I find that I enjoy my time with other people. Things that I don’t like to do, like cooking for myself for example, I try to make enjoyable by putting a podcast on or putting nice music on. And just really being in that moment and trying to appreciate all of those little things.

How does fitness make you feel both physically and mentally?

I would say it’s all about positive endorphins and I feel really energized after a class. It kind of fills my cup up so to speak. I usually work out at night and it gives me a really nice sleep and I wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day. But I think that working out with a group also pushes me to be fully in it and not half-ass it.

What do you wish more people would talk openly about when it comes to mental wellness/health? Are there any issues that are of special significance to you?

I think just, in general, I feel fortunate what within my group of friends we’re really open about how we’re feeling and our mental health, and all very supportive of each other. But I think just in general, even at work for instance, if you’re feeling really anxious or not in the right headspace, I still think there is a stigma about that and I think that’s one thing that could change. I know for me anxiety is something that I have and it comes out in some strange ways sometimes and ways that I’m not necessarily proud of or even would want to tell people about I guess. And I would like to remove the shame of that.

Intro and interviews by Sarah Tesla. Photos by Bree Sopatyk.

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