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  • Writer's pictureSusie Bower

Discovered Zwift cycling pulled me out of depressive episode

You made it! Celebrate the simple fact that you are here. These last almost 2 years have been rough, yet no matter how many obstacles got in your way and tried to take you out - they didn't. Give yourself credit, you deserve that.

I always get a giggle when people think it's weird that I workout even when I'm on vacation. To me, it is a part of me. Yes, I take days off from working out, but I am still active every single day. Yoga was the first movement I found myself connected and committed to. Then when I was introduced to weight lifting I was hooked! For almost 20 years, movement was such a huge part of me, I didn't even know where my drive came from, it was just something I did because I loved how I felt. It wasn't until my mental health took a nose dive that I truly learned why it was such a deep-rooted part of me and why I was so lost without it.

I have spent the last year and a half uncovering who I am at my core, what I want out of life, how I want to spend time with my family, how I will show up in the world, what defines, aligns, and guides my businesses and what excites me about my future in all of these. That's why I say 2020 came with many life lessons for me and 2021 was the time I spent applying everything I learned from the previous year. Both were tough, with waves of good and bad. I'd encourage you to learn from my mistakes and past, discover why movement is so important, not just for physical health, but also your mental health.

Find something, any type of movement that you enjoy. That's the key - something you enjoy. If you are doing something that you hate or it feels like a chore, then you won't want to do it when you need it most, in those dark times. Find something you can turn to, that feeling it gives you can pull you out of anything, it's that powerful. What's funny is I got this bike trainer for my husband as a gift and I started using it when my classes got canceled from being in lockdown. It is what pulled me out of my deep depression. The last time I used my bike was when I was doing duathlons in San Diego, and that was almost 5 years ago! It was the most unexpected thing to get on the bike and find such a stress relief and enjoyment. I used to laugh at my husband when he was riding on the bike trainer with Zwift, joking that it was a video game for cyclists. Then I started using a CGM to better understand my body and everything that impacts it. Since I couldn't go outside our parco to exercise, I started using the bike trainer.

I am almost a week away from a huge surgery and at first, I was a little scared of not working out for 6-8 weeks and what that might do to my mental health. Especially since it was after my second back surgery 2 years ago that my depressive spiral stemmed from. After some deep meditation work these past few days, I realized I was living in an all or nothing mentality with that way of thinking. I will have the ability to move my body daily, I just can't lift weights and participate in my classes. Moving your body daily is crucial.

So if you aren't where you want to be or are looking to just start taking action towards a healthy lifestyle, start with one small step. Move your body daily. Find something that can create momentum and pull you out of where you are. Start with the basics and if you need help, you've got a friend who's got your back! After my surgery, I am thinking about creating a private, online group that will focus on getting back to the basics - finding movement, restful and quality sleep, and nutrition that benefits your mind and body, as these will be my focus for my recovery and healing. If I did this, would you be interested? Feel free to message me if you would be interested.

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