One of my favorite jobs was when I worked at a doggie day camp. Running around with dogs, giving belly rubs to my heart’s content, and spending all day on my feet allowed me to be in the best shape of my life.
Unfortunately, the day camp was a corporate-owned facility and, while it was safe and worked well for the dogs and customers, there was always a turnover of employees due to the low pay and sporadic scheduling. After a few years there, I had to make the difficult decision to go my own way after coming to the realization that I would not be able to live on that particular paycheck.
I now have a desk job which, while it gives me great pay, benefits, and coworkers, does nothing for my physical health. After a couple of years of sitting — and seeing myself go up a size in pants — I decided I needed to take the plunge and join a gym. Despite not going as regularly as I would have liked when I first joined, this new year has seen me trying to be better about scheduling some gym time about three days a week.
(Well, the resolutions-mentality of the new year, and the fact that I get a small discount off of the monthly membership price due to where I work.)
Despite the fact that I’ve only been going to the gym for about two weeks, and can only afford about a half hour per session, I’ve already discovered some of the less obvious benefits to regularly going to the gym.
One would think that a hard workout will result in trying not to fall asleep in the showers after. And, sure, I’m sore and tired after a workout, but I’m also genuinely finding myself to be more energetic and productive lately, especially after a workout (and shower, of course).
Considering I work a 9 to 5 kind of day job, I tend to work on my writing and other creative projects after work. One of the main aspects of my job is customer service, and working with the public can be particularly exhausting. These past couple of weeks of gym sessions, I’ve noticed that I’ve been motivated to continue my creative projects rather than veg on the couch right when I get home.
I got new pillows for Christmas, which I’m sure has helped my sleep, but I believe that regularly going to the gym has also helped me snooze easier.
Going off of the above point, while I find myself with more energy to keep working on my personal projects and hobbies lately, I’m comfortably tired when bedtime rolls around and tend to fall asleep faster. Another positive is that I am able to get out of bed in the morning easier as well. I’m not as tired upon waking up — not that I would ever say no to a cup of caffeinated tea — and I’m more alert when figuring out my day as I have breakfast.
Considering I am absolutely not a morning person — something I’ve spoken about in a previous article — this has been a great turnaround.
As the character Elle Woods from Legally Blonde famously stated:
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”
We all know about the “winter blues,” those cold, gray days that make it seem like the sun will never show its face again. I’ll be honest and say that I prefer the cold and a little rain more so than the heat and too-bright days, I cannot deny that sunlight does wonders for people’s moods. Aside from gray days, this post-holiday time combined with how ridiculously busy the months leading up to the holidays were, my mood has been in a funk.
Since starting regular sessions at the gym, I find myself in a better mood, more calm, and a bit more confident. I’m more optimistic about what will happen in the near future and I’m more positive about my goals.
No matter how sore I am after a workout, those sweet endorphins sure make me happy!