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An Effective Way to De-Stress

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I was having a particularly stressful day. Actually, the whole week was full of enough pressures that my shoulders felt tight and mind was spinning. Although I questioned if I had enough time to spare, I made the decision to go to the gym and take a challenging but fun muscle class.

Just getting away from the house helped and by the time that I walked through the familiar glass doors at the gym, I could feel some of the weight being lifted. My morning schedule was tight. I walked into class and began to gather my step, weights, body bar, mat and tension rope just in time. The class was full. I was lucky to get one of the last spots, near the instructor.

The instructor was a long time favorite teacher of mine. She is funny, motivating, and truly makes the class enjoyable to be in, as painful as it is. I say that only because her classes are tough. We did five full minutes of squats. We worked our shoulders to J-Lo. We did an entire hour of exercises to cover every muscle group on our body. This is the class that makes me ache for days afterward. And it gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

For at least an hour, I was not focused on all the work that I needed to get done. I wasn’t thinking about writing deadlines, teacher gifts, or end of school year gatherings. I wasn’t obsessing over unpacking boxes and organizing rooms. My shoulder wasn’t cramping up from calling the different utilities companies to arrange installations and services. The burn of my muscles was taking my mind off all of these things.

Our instructor sensed the difficulty in her exercises. She could see the faces of those of us working in class. She saw the strain in our eyes and the gritting of our teeth. She watched us as we tried to push through and complete the reps. Then she simply said four words that would continue to play through my mind. “You can do this.”

Just when I thought that I couldn’t lift one more weight over my head, I heard her steady, clear and confident voice, “You can do this.” Words to live by. I finished her class and left the gym feeling energized and accomplished.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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