Locked down with my husband, 4 dogs and anxiety

Date: 25 June 2020   Author: Energise Me

Nancy talks about how corona-chaos could have brought back her long-forgotten anxiety but, instead she seized back some control and found sanctuary in exercise.

Nancy in the woods exercising

Name: Nancy 

Age: 42 

I’m locked down with: My husband and four dogs (three are mine, the fourth is my mums – she broke her ankle two weeks into lockdown!) 

I’m keeping active by: Walking the dogs, running, boxercise and gardening. 


My Story

I live with generalised anxiety disorder – a label I was given many, many years ago. I don’t really think about it or use the term to describe myself anymore because my anxiety has been stable for 5 years now. But this situation could have turned into my worst nightmare! 

My anxiety has always been, and will always be, about control. I have had a few moments of catastrophizing about being stuck in the house. What if it triggers agoraphobia?! But in those moments (which are thankfully few!) I focus on what I can do to take myself out of the situation. Exercise! 

Exercise gives me a great outlet to punch any frustration and stress away. It’s an escape from those you’re isolating with and gives your brain a break to focus on something else.

Exercising in lockdown

I’ve been doing online boxercise with Ruth twice a week since lockdown began. (Although, I’ve missed the odd one due to work or feeling miserable!) 

I found it odd for the first couple of sessions because I was in my home office and it was on video. I was distracted by what everyone else was doing and by seeing myself on camera. We were all self-conscious to begin with, but we’re weeks in now and it’s become normal. We have all adapted really quickly. I really enjoy the classes, obviously not as much as I do in person, and it has brought a sense of normality and routine to the week. 

The instructor suggested using household items like canned food to add weights and resistance. I’ve found I don’t need it if I put maximum effort in and engage my muscles. I ache just as much after a virtual workout on my own as I did in class hitting pads! My coordination is just as rubbish on video as it is face to face, so it doesn’t feel like much has changed! 

Keeping to 20/30-minute workouts has worked well for me, especially because finding motivation for anything has been more difficult as the weeks have gone on. It’s too easy to finish work and go straight down to the sofa to get comfy! 


Nancy exercising with her dog to help with her anxiety

How exercise is helping me

feel great after whatever exercise I’ve done. Exercise is the most important thing I can do for my health at any time, and it’s even more important at the moment. 

Contact with other people through exercise has been beneficial for me in so many ways. Whilst we aren’t socialising as such, the familiarity of the instructor and her enthusiasm and constant encouragement gets me and everyone moving. 

Exercise gives me a great outlet to punch any frustration and stress away. It’s an escape from those you’re isolating with and gives your brain a break to focus on something else. It takes me out of my own head. 

It gives me a reason to leave the house to walk or run on my own or with my dogs – and I do it rain or shine!  

Most importantly, it gives me back some control. When you can’t really plan anything about your life, you know you can plan to do some exercise. 

If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental health, take a look at the Solent Mind website and their Coronavirus Wellbeing Hub.

For tips on how to get active through lockdown, visit our getting active at home page.

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