Just lately I haven’t been inspired to blog (although I have been keeping up a little with Elefriends and other people’s blog posts). However, something that happened at the weekend made me think about how to take care of my well-being a little better. Why is it that my CBT therapist kept telling me to get a hobby? Was she just trying to get me to distract myself, or were there any real benefits from it? Well, I have to say that it definitely is the latter, and I was able to prove that to myself last Saturday.
I woke up on the Saturday morning feeling incredibly low and tearful. All morning I just couldn’t shake it off. I took the dogs for a walk in the park with my partner and his family, as we always did, but still the tearfulness didn’t go. I got snappy at my partner in front of his family, which is something I never want to do, but it was like my emotions got the better of me completely!
I had a horse riding lesson at 1pm and was considering not going. Horse riding is something I had always dreamt of doing as a child, but my parents couldn’t afford it. It was my CBT therapist and my partner who encouraged me to just bite the bullet and book myself a lesson, despite my feelings of anxiety about meeting new people. Anyway, as much as I had been enjoying my lessons, on Saturday I just didn’t want to go at all. But I had already paid for it so I couldn’t waste my money. I even cried all the way there, not able to shake the feelings of sadness and frustration at feeling this way again. When I arrived, I wiped my tears and shrugged on my riding hat and boots. I just had to get through it. I’d paid my money, they were expecting me and also, this was supposed to be my favourite thing to do!
The minute I got on the horse, it was all different. I had 45 minutes just trotting and cantering around on Brian, with my trainer alongside me. I really enjoyed it even thought it was hard work! My legs and core muscles were aching by the end of it. After my lesson, I got in my car and you know what? Suddenly, I didn’t feel tearful anymore. Obviously I was distracted from my feelings during the lesson whilst I was kicking and steering and all of that business on the horse, but it actually made me feel better too!
They say exercise releases endorphins that make you happy. I for one am never happy at the gym, I hate going and find it a chore. But this was different, I had been exercising and also enjoying it. I drove home from my lesson feeling probably at least 80% better than when I had started.
The reason for today’s post is this; please, please have a hobby. A couple of months ago, when I was at rock bottom, I didn’t even want to get out of bed, let alone have a hobby. But now I have one and it’s the best choice I ever made. Find something you love. Join a club or society, find groups or meet ups in the local area that like the same things that you do. I can’t tell you what your hobby will be, it might be painting, colouring, running, walking, bird-watching… All I can tell you is that it’s so important to have something all for you that you enjoy and that can bring you back up from the darkness without you realising it.