Tam is part of our team and community at Eat Play Thrive. She is a movement coach and personal trainer with a passion for improving mood and mental health through smart, purposeful movement and exercise. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have had a session with Tam you’ll know her for her boundless energy, enthusiasm and bundles of fun. In short, she makes your entire body smile. In recognition of “Exercise your Mood” month, an initiative by the Black Dog Institute, Tam will be running free 30min myofascial release (self massage) and mindfulness sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10.15am during September at Eat Play Thrive. Everyone welcome (including non-members; no booking required).
Thanks to Tam for writing this blog post…

Do you ever feel very alone; l mean like you have nobody? That every single day and thing in your life is challenging and you are struggling to function? According to the Black Dog Institute, statistics indicate 1 in 4 Australians experience mental illness in any given year and these statistics rise significantly for young Australians and those living in regional and remote Australia.

This is a topic l’m very passionate about. Why you might ask? Well l grew in a country Victoria.  I never felt that l had that truly one best friend and l didn’t fit in. My parents were not living together and therefore my mum had to work and she was not around much.  I didn’t feel l had any support at home. Over the previous years l had exercised by playing squash, basketball, netball and volleyball. However as a 15 year old l lost the motivation to participate in any exercise.
I slowly felt a feeling of numbness, not just a flat day that everybody has from time to time. Not just sad, happy nor angry feelings – it was a numbness, emotionless.  This was the darkest of places that l felt l couldn’t get out of, which in turn my family would also be affected by.
After a very turbulent time through my teens and then my early twenties, l found that l loved running. I would run at least 3 times per week. This brought a sense of calm to me that l had experienced earlier in my teens when l played all the various sports. I then started to compete in fun runs, so l had distance goals as well as time goals, all the while getting those great chemicals in my brain making me feel fantastic.  Then l tried the short distance triathlon’s which l became addicted to. I also found if l was unable to exercise my mood deteriorated.
There came a time where my body indicated to me that it didn’t want me to run anymore, with continuing injuries. So l needed a new “high” to replace my “runners high”. I found boxing, it was physical for body & mind. I loved boxing so much although l was not a movement coach at that time l went and became a level 1 boxing instructor. Still to this day l love the high that you get from boxing. I have become so aware of that feeling that if l haven’t exercised, my mood becomes low and it’s so easy to lose motivation. However as soon as l get back out there again my whole body and mind feel clearer.
As l look back now l realise just how much l have achieved… year 10 high school drop out, then a successful 15 years of  Workers Compensation/ Public Liability litigation, 3 Children, obtained a degree at the age of 42 and finally worked out what l wanted to be when l grew up, a Movement Coach, to help people move better and promote exercise for positive mental health.
Depression, known as the “Black Dog” can be debilitating but there are ways to manage it. The Black Dog Institute says, “take that dog for a walk.”
Here are some ideas that maybe helpful to try:
  • Smiling Minds is a free app you can download to assist with Mindfulness Meditation. It caters for all ages, and l used it to help go to sleep when my mind was too busy. My two boys (10 and 8) have also used it very successfully.
  • A Soft Murmur is a free app. You can mix together ambient nature sounds to help you relax.
  • Exercise of course… whatever makes you feel good. Ideally moderate intensity every day of the week.
  • If you feel unable to speak to family or friends reach out to…
    • Your General practitioner
    • Lifeline 13 11 14
    • Men’s Line Australia 1300 78 9978
    • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
    • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Statistics and information gathered from the Black Dog Institute.
Here is the short video created by Black Dog Institute to promote Exercise your Mood:
Know that you are not alone, you can reach out for help.

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