How Fitness Helped Me Overcome Depression and Anxiety
By Emily Skye
Depression and anxiety has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As far back as my early teens I would find myself feeling depressed and upset. I look back on that time in my life and try and work out why I might have felt that way. It could have been one of many reasons. My father leaving us at a very young age. My mother having to struggle to support us as a single mother. Having to go without things that so many other kids my age took for granted. The constant moving of schools because of the relentless bullying I had to put up with. The truth is I really didn’t have the answer and still don’t. The feelings of depression I had didn’t change or fade away the older I became. In fact, if anything they simply got worse as time went on. One of the main tools I used to try and take my mind off the negative and destructive thoughts was to occupy my time the best I could with things that would distract me. I began modeling at a young age and found some success early in the modeling industry. I though that being involved in modeling might help my confidence and allow me to improve my feelings of low self worth. To be honest, it really did the opposite. In an industry where you’re constantly in competition with other people and comparing yourself to others, this was an environment that was quite possibly the worst for me. It was probably around my mid twenties while still modeling that I made the conscious decision that I had to change and I couldn’t continue to live a life full of negativity.
Physical training and exercise have always been an important part of my life. I’m quite fortunate enough to be a very naturally athletic person. As a youngster I represented my state in sprinting and competed at a relatively high level. I studied to become a PT in my late teens, but never pursued a career in the industry after finishing my studies. In my mid twenties after living much of my life under a haze of negativity, I decided that I needed to make significant changes. The center of gravity for this shift in my life was the implementation of a consistent fitness regime. Implementing fitness as a cornerstone in my life along with consistent healthy eating allowed me to think a lot clearer about how my life was progressing and what steps I needed to take in order to live a life I was happy with. I was able to plan out what I wanted for myself and how I was going to go about achieving those goals. For me, the changes had to be drastic, as I wanted to drastically change my life. It took a lot of hard work and consistency, as many times along the way I felt it would have been really easy for me to slip back into my old ways. One thing I clearly remember about when I decided to make these changes in my life was how quickly I discovered who my real friends were. Friends should support you in whatever it is that makes you feel happy. I found many of my closest friends and family members didn’t understand that I wanted to pursue a life of health and fitness. I would often get comments like “you’re taking it too far” or “you don’t want to start looking like a man.” After removing these negative people and influences from my life I found it much easier to concentrate on me and what I needed to do to create a life for myself that I was truly happy with.
I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the involvement of health and fitness in my life I would really be lost. If you were to say to me 7 years ago when I first started on this journey that I would be doing what I’m doing today, I would have said you’re absolutely crazy! Never in my wildest dreams would I have though that I would be lucky enough to be able to have a career where I can reach millions of people around the world and affect them in a positive way.
Emily Skye is a global fitness expert and a Reebok Global Fitness Ambassador. With over 12 million followers across her social platforms, Emily is one of the most prominent fitness and health influencers. Her popular F.I.T program, which offers guidance on exercising, nutrition, and building a positive mindset, currently has hundreds of thousands of loyal members around the world.