When it comes to spring cleaning, most of us think about the act of throwing away the things that we have hoarded over the years that now sit, collecting dust, or the process of cleaning your home to give it the fresh look and feel that it may need. What if I told you, there is another type of spring cleaning that you can undertake without filling the landfill with some dusty junk. In this blog, I am going to speak about my personal journey; how I went through my own ‘spring cleaning’, not only physically, but the mental change it led to.
From a small kid, I’ve always been very active. This continued throughout my late teens and early 20s, and I used to play competitive cricket, volleyball and other sports with college and clubs. I love sports and physical activity so much, that I did two P.E classes during college, after school training and games on the weekends. When I left school, I went on to study Sport Studies and Personal Training at a tertiary level. It is fair to say sports was my life, and embedded into my DNA.
Being an active person, I suspected that eventually my body was going to give up on me, due to the high impact I’ve put my body through during the years. Then, about 8 years ago, I unfortunately suffered quite a serious injury to my right knee, which required reconstructive surgery. Deep down because of what doctors had told me, I knew I could never play sports at the competitive levels that I wanted to achieve. The younger version of me was naïve, and thought this was something that I could overcome and said “no, I will get back to playing at that level”. However as the months of rehab went on, it became obvious that things weren’t looking positive for me. When the realisation of this set in, the emotional and mental pain kicked in, even though delayed, this was harder to recover from than anything else.
Everyone deals with emotional and mental adversity in different ways. My way of processing and dealing with the hurt was to eat junk food (to me it was not the worst thing in the world). I weighed 80kgs at the time of my first surgery, fast forward to four years later, I had gained around 20 kgs. This weight gain help set course for my other knee to be injured, and saw me back on the surgery table. So began the misfortunate reoccurring cycle of my third, and soon to be scheduled forth surgery. In the six years since the first surgery, my weight escalated, and not only were my knees damaged, but my self-confidence and general happiness was damaged too; depression slowly kicked in as well.
After the third surgery, my mental health was not great, to say the very least, and felt I was heading down a never-ending spiral of self-pity, unhappiness and negative self-belief. To my family and friends and work mates, it appeared I was always smiling, making jokes and laughing. To them I seemed fine, but they, and I also knew something needed to change, and it needed to change fast. As most people do when it comes to this sort of thing is the lack of motivation and in my case a huge case of laziness.
I was heading to Bali for my best friend’s wedding and being the best man, I knew I couldn’t stand next to him while I was ashamed of how I looked, with my shirt buttons almost about to pop. At this point I had gained about 38kgs since 2012. I realised quickly that I needed to change, but wasn’t sure where to start. So, I did everything you can think of to prepare. I spoke to friends who are gym junkies. I did own online research reading blogs, watching videos about workouts. I pulled together some ideas that I thought would work for me.
You might read up to this part and thought, what does this have to with spring cleaning?
My version of spring cleaning is about cleaning out the past. For me, this included physical health cleaning, mental health cleaning and emotional health cleaning.
Now, I am physically healthy, I am not depressed and I am happy; I am happy both inside and out. After my next surgery and rehab, I am definitely going to get back on the cricket pitch and start playing again. My key message is, you may have something that is keeping you from being happy in an overall sense and think “Oh there is nothing that can be done!”. Well there is, and it starts with looking back, and cleaning it out.