Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
You may be moving through these stages of grief in response to your favorite work out spot closing - once again - during holiday season - when the weather is the least cooperative - and during a pandemic when you need it the most.
Don't minimize this loss! Your gym, studio or outdoor workout space fulfills a lot of personal needs and is a place where you feel empowered and supported, so this change can be a drastic upset.
Let's work through these stages together. Ultimately, you want to land in a space of acceptance so you can make kind and sustainable choices to care for your body and mind.
Denial.Believing that the way you have been working out is the best and only way you can take care of yourself. So why bother working out at all now?
Accept that exercise is not an all-or-nothing situation. Your body needs movement, any and all kinds, to thrive! The benefits of movement are scientifically proven: decreased pain, better sleep, improvements in mental and emotional health, just to name a few.
Small changes like sitting less, or standing and walking more will make you feel exponentially better. As for working out, your own gym or studio may offer online classes, and the options for home-based workouts have never been better.
Anger.Negative, harsh self-talk may be ramping up because you are working out less, eating more or actually enjoying a break from an intense workout routine.
Accept that you are living through an extraordinarily hard time with unprecedented consequences. Please, please do not punish yourself for whatever you are doing to get through it! Remind yourself constantly how strong you are for getting through each day.
Bargaining.Working out twice as much or twice as hard to not gain weight.
Accept that your body and mind are not bargaining chips, and your weight is not an indicator of your value. Trading your good, long-term physical and mental health for anything else is a bad deal.
Depression.Feeling overwhelmed, lost or anxious because you don't have access to your regular workout space, equipment, classmates, or trainer.
Accept that this is the time to reach out for support. Contact a trainer you trust for some workout ideas and resources. Talk to a good friend about your fears. Set up a Zoom workout with your favorite exercise-mates so you can encourage each other while exercising.
Finally, accept that the grief process is not linear or absolute. You may return to a stage you thought you had resolved, and you may not experience every stage. This is totally normal. Keep track of all the things that helped you move toward acceptance and use those as tools whenever you need them.