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Healthy Mind, Healthy Body | Christine Kole Q&A

At JUNK we're all about getting up and getting active - taking care of your body, but taking care of yourself isn't always just about exercise. You've got to take care of your mental health as well, because you truly can't have one without the other. We got a chance to ask Christine Kole, a JUNK athlete and pro CrossFitter, how she keeps up with her mental health while also working towards her athletic goals. Here's what she had to say!

What are some things you do to promote a positive mental attitude for yourself?
    Especially as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how important it is for me to have alone time. I love being around people, for sure, but I reflect, process, dream, strategize, and refocus when I’m alone. I don’t think this is just an introvert thing either! While extroverts may not need as much alone time I do think it’s important to be able to be alone with your own thoughts (little challenge for the extroverted crowd!). During that time I need QUIET. I love to try to set aside time daily (usually in the AM to set the tone for the day) to read a little, write a little, draw a little, and pray. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant but SOMETHING to get my perspective and tone set for the day, to get my eyes, mind, and heart focused on the bigger picture of life.

      What are some things you do for self care outside of working out?

        When it comes to self care, outside of working out, I prioritize healthy eating and good sleep first. These two things are so important and affect everything. I also try to create something as often as possible. Whether it’s cooking, baking, making a bracelet, drawing, painting, writing, or rearranging a room - creating gives my soul life. Outside of that I deeply enjoy pampering myself - getting my hair and nails done, soaking in an Epsom salt bath, or just cozying up on the couch with my essential oil diffuser on to watch The Office or read a good book!

        Do you think your mental health effects your CrossFit or workout performance?

          Oh, 100%. I’ve had days here and there where my mental health was struggling and I knew my body was asking for rest and grace and kindness, but I decided to push through anyways with a tough workout at the gym. Every time I’ve done this I’ve been left in complete frustration with my body because it feels as though it’s just completely failing me - nothing works right and everything is way harder than normal. I’ve learned over time and through experience though that this is really my body just telling me to stop, to rest, to not be so hard on myself. There definitely are times when working out helps our mental health, giving us the feel good chemicals when we’re feeling a little down, but then there are times when we are so run down that working out is just another stressor and our bodies are begging us to stop and give ourselves some grace. I think it’s so important to know the difference between these two scenarios and listen to what our bodies are asking for. I’ve learned not to live by the tough love “if you don’t feel like doing it do it anyways” mentality. Our bodies are really smart and communicate with us constantly. If we learn to go inward and listen to the signals we can discern when we are being lazy and when our bodies are trying to get our attention to heal something deeper.

          And on the flip side, how has CrossFit/being physically active effected your mental health?

            Haha. I always joke (kind of) that I LOVE ENDORPHINS - exercise, chocolate, laughing, give me all of it! But really, how cool that our brains release a feel-good drug when we move?! Thank you, God, for that! I know so many people, including myself, who ward off anxiety and even depression by staying active. Working out is so much more than just chasing a body image goal or losing weight - it literally creates happiness!

            Do you have any suggestions of things that you enjoy doing that people can do from home to help promote mental health?
              Yes! Some of my favorite things include:
              1. Getting in the Bible, reminding myself of God’s promises and provision.
              2. Praying. I really like to write out my prayers in a journal. It’s easier for me to get out what’s inside of me through writing and it’s also really fun to go back and read through old prayers to realize God’s faithfulness and His perfect love in the way He answers prayers.
              3. Creating! Anything! I believe we all possess creativity in some fashion or another since we are all made in God’s image and He is the master creator! I think there is a joy released through creating (even if you swear you don’t have a creative bone in your body!). JUST TRY SOMETHING: cook, bake, paint, draw, doodle, sing, do a craft, design something, make a dream board, dance - just let it flow!
              4. And of course, stay thankful. Remind yourself often of the good things in your life, the unwarranted gifts, the beauty all around you. A thankful mindset can completely change your perspective and outlook on your life. There truly always, always is something to be thankful for!

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