As most of you know, especially if you live in South Korea, the winter has officially set in, and to be quite blunt, I fucking hate it. My nose is already preparing for the annual run of the blood out of my nasal cavities because it’s so fucking dry, my skin is already sloughing off of my shins, and I really loathe putting on a coat and scarf just to step outside for a few minutes. I know some of you will argue your position– you’ll make some fucking bullshit claim about how winter is so wonderful because of the holidays and snow and fires in fireplaces and eggnog and Christmas trees and sweaters AND I AM NOT LISTENING TO YOU. I mean, there are good things about the holidays, such as making Thanksgiving dinners and drinking 15 bottles of wine with your friends…
But, there is absolutely nothing better than an afternoon on the beach in a bathing suit drinking a cold beer in the middle of the summer. There is nothing better than wearing tank tops, sandals, and maxi dresses. There is nothing better than the sun setting after 8:30pm, and if you say differently, you’re a monster. I’m sorry you had to find out this way. But yes, you’re a monster.
Anyway, there is another major reason I hate winter, and the sun setting at good ol’ 5:11pm (which is 19 minutes before I even teach my first class, by the way), and that is the winter slump. It is real, it is damaging, and even at 29, I am still trying to figure out how to navigate my way through the winter months without going absolutely batshit insane. I am one of those lucky people who suffers from S.A.D., and man, those people who named it really thought they were fuckin’ hilarious, eh? So, the winter months really wreak havoc on my sleeping, my general mood, and my overall motivation. I started noticing it a couple of weeks ago– the downturn in my moods, the need to sleep for more than 8 hours at night, and the compulsion to eat everything in my line of view. I made some attempts to move forward in my life, like going to Suseong Lake and walking around, which actually helped quite a bit.
Suseong Lake is an absolutely gorgeous part of Daegu and being in the sunshine, the slightly warmer than frigid temperatures, and getting my heart rate up was something I desperately needed to keep myself sane. The problem, though, is that this motivation has been dwindling as December has started. I went to the gym last week and ran a 5k on Monday, and outside of that, I did little to no physical activity during the week. I mean, I walked around downtown, but that was it. I didn’t play soccer because it was canceled, I didn’t go back to the gym for weight lifting or more running, and I certainly didn’t stick to my goal to wake up before 11am every day.
This weekend, I planned on having a sober weekend, but one beer turned into two turned into 6am downtown, and while I don’t necessarily regret it, it is an indication that I am slipping in my dedication to myself and to the higher goals that I have for my body. I woek up on Sunday with my hangover, and while I got out and about and saw some friends, I managed to drink three more beers that evening. I am trying not to punish myself– I didn’t get shitshow drunk, but I definitely had more than I intended when I woke up on Sunday.
Monday was probably the final straw for me, I think. I stirred when Rob’s alarm clock went off at 11am, but I felt like I couldn’t force myself to wake up. Then next time I looked at my clock, it was 2:30. I managed to get myself out of bed, shower, and get to the area where my job is located. I bought a crappy Paris Baguette sandwich and a coffee, went to work, felt miserable, came home, ate some more bullshit, felt even more miserable, and tried to force myself to make a plan for today. Well, I woke up late again today. I almost chalked it up as a failure, but instead of allowing myself to be down, I went to check out a gym that my friend Caitlin recommended that was, apparently, right outside of my job. Y’all, this was the best decision I have made in recent memory.
I went in, and I was immediately sure I wanted to join the gym. Everyone was super friendly, even though there was an obvious language barrier. So, I paid for one month, which included the use of the gym and the classes, which includes yoga, spinning, and other classes that will be beneficial for cross-training while I’m running. They have a sauna, a shower, free weights, treadmills ALL OF IT. I went back tonight after work to try out the spinning class AND IT WAS SO AWESOME.
It was definitely difficult. The whole class was conducted standing– there were no songs where we were sitting, climbing hills, or any of the other aspects of spin class I was familiar with coming into this class. It was like a combination of k-pop dancing, infused with strobe lights, shouting “aye!” at different points throughout the class, and a very enthusiastic instructor who introduced me to the whole class. They clapped for me. The whole environment was so welcoming and I am so proud of myself for doing something that seemed kind of intimidating at first, because doing anything in this country can be intimidating, and the payoff was huge. The gym is across the street from work, so I can take my gym bag and go before work, after work, anytime. I AM SO PLEASED WITH MY DECISION.
My ability to pick myself back up after a week or so unmotivated has also forced me to reflect on this person that I am now. There were so many times that I started trying to get in shape before and quit when things got hard, or when I feel off of the fitness or food wagon. For some reason, this seems more permanent. It’s like I finally understand that I need physical exercise to keep my brain happy. My food intake is still questionable, but I know all things come together in time. I am not perfect, I can’t expect myself to be perfect. I have to be gentle and understanding, even when I am ready to rage against myself. As stated in my previous blog, my self-hate has no place in becoming a healthy person.
I have changed. My body has changed. My mind has changed. I will continue to change. I just need to keep reminding myself how far I’ve come, instead of looking forward and being overwhelmed by how far I still have to go. I just have to look at the below picture to see the difference.
Keep moving forward, y’all. It’s all we can do.