I’m watching water pool in front of me. I’m holding a low plank for the last 6 minutes of exercises in an hour-long boxing class and literally, it’s like someone left the faucet dripping—off my forehead. The woman beside me is wearing a shirt that says, “Strong is the new skinny.” The instructor just had us tossing ten pound medicine balls with a partner, squatting, sitting up, passing it, pushing up, running, army crawls, punching. He’s been yelling, burpee, squat jump, jump tuck, plank, push-up, sit-up, punch, up, down, sprint, and the class is like a bunch of heavy-breathing monkeys, following every command in the intervals he calls. Did I mention it’s 6am?
This is what I do for self-care: boxing. My dad says it’s unlikely. He wouldn’t have expected me to take up boxing. I think it’s unlikely. I didn’t expect I would ever take up boxing. It was only under the urging of one of my amazing friends that I went to a session and immediately was hooked. It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had while also getting my butt kicked. (More on having fun exercising and other healthy habits, here).
The first thing I learned from boxing was how much tension I normally carry in my shoulders. I didn’t realize this until I would go to class and put my shoulders into punches, swinging fists, and the tightness would pull back. I appreciated the response, learned to breathe deeply, consciously relax, and by halfway through class, I was free sailing, tension free, adrenaline pumping. Headaches dissolve, too. I once came from work with a tension headache the size of a watermelon pressing outward from the inside of my skull. I left the class soaring. Boxing has made me more confident, the natural benefit of endorphins. It’s also a social event—I go with friends, my roommate, fellow practicum students. There’s now over six of us going to the same club and we ache and hustle to the same beat: heat beat, music beat, the beat of our instructor’s voice, and we leave feeling refreshed. It’s never easy, especially when I wake up for it at 5:30am, but it’s worth it.
I would rather be strong.