(photographer Chris Poplawski cpoplawski.com)
Social media platforms present the concept of euphoric lives filled with champagne brunches, outfit photos and the latest turmeric matcha recipes. But in my experience, behind the confines of a screen, bloggers have been among the unhappiest people I’ve encountered. I have struggled with depression my whole life. And by “depression,” I don’t mean sadness. I mean that hollowed out, empty and numb feeling that gnaws at the core of your being. This online world used to be a safe haven for me–a place to express myself freely. But for some reason it’s now a competition of who is having the most fun and lavish digital mirage of a life.
This illness took over when I came to college and has led me in and out of multiple psychiatrist and psychologists’ offices. I will go into more detail regarding my struggles in the future but to sum it up–I have tried an arsenal of medication and therapy techniques (most to little or no avail) to realize that the only person that can help me is myself.
A psychologist, Dr. Martin Seligman, conducted a study involving a dog, a bell and a shock. After the dog realized the ringing of the bell meant that a shock was going to be delivered, the dog became afraid of the ringing bell. Next, Seligman placed the dog in a large crate that only delivered shocks on one side. The dog had the ability to jump to the other side but did not do so. Seligman called this “learned helplessness.” When we attribute failures or setbacks to an internal cause (“I’m not good enough” “I’m dumb” “I always make mistakes”), we don’t grow as individuals—we don’t move on. We remain stuck on the shock delivering side of the crate.
In the first two years of my twenties I have learned that everyone is just trying to survive. We can’t expect too much from others (e.g. empathy, sympathy) because everyone is dealing with something. “Oh, you and your boyfriend broke up? Well I just lost my job.” It’s not that it’s some sort of competition of who has the worst problems but sometimes it feels that way. I’m not saying that your friends don’t care, it’s just that we’re all treading water in an effort to stay afloat. So when you find yourself back in a depressive state, as I have time and time again, you cannot give into learned helplessness. No one is going to come to your bedroom, drag you out of bed, push you into the shower, brush your hair and clothe you (except maybe your mom).
You have to act opposite to your emotions. The pull of depression is alluring for many reasons. It can be comfortable. When you stay depressed, you don’t have to struggle to work your way out of it just to deal with the anxious thought that your happiness is temporary and can be snatched at any moment. Reject this idea. A depressed mind plays tricks.
A boy won’t make you feel better, a party won’t do the trick but a sense of mastery or completion of some task–any task—will. Make a small change every day: sign up for a pottery class, read one chapter of a book, clean one corner of your bedroom, eat one healthy meal, walk one mile on a treadmill. Celebrate these accomplishments, don’t minimize them. Over time, you’ll start to feel like yourself again.
Health and wellness isn’t something I talk about on the blog often but since succumbing to Instagam Stories, I’ve discovered that I have a passion for it. I’ve probably tried every healthy restaurant and trendy work out class in LA and I’m here to share my thoughts.
1. Body by Simone (BBS) ($28 – West Hollywood)
BBS is tough. I’ve tried Trampoline Cardio and the Full Body work out classes. I mistakenly chose Trampoline Cardio my first time at the studio which is apparently their toughest workout class. I was dripping in sweat by the end of it (see above photo). For this class, it helps if you’re not super tall. The moves require staying low and keeping your core tight while keeping up with dance steps…while on a trampoline. It’s low impact but the trampoline doesn’t provide as much support as I thought it would. But this class was easier on my joints/back than jogging on a treadmill. There are short sprinting bursts during this class that I wouldn’t be able to do on a treadmill so I’m sure that torched a ton of calories. It also requires a lot of coordination and there’s a bunch of quick movements. If you’re not a dancer and have two left feet like me, you’ll feel silly and won’t be able to keep up at first. In my experience, no one laughs at you. So that helps. The morning after this class, I woke up looking super toned. I’m not sure if that was due to loss of water weight (via sweating a TON…sorry, TMI) or if it was the fact that this class burns around 500 calories.
The Full Body class was a little easier since all of the dance steps are carried out on solid ground. There’s more sculpting in this class (ab work, ankle weights, etc) than cardio. But if you go on Monday nights you just might run into Lori Loughlin looking gorgeous and not breaking a sweat at all.
2. ModelFIT ($32 – LA) ($40 – NYC)
ModelFIT is a trendy place. The LA studio has a cactus theme (very ~chella) while the NYC studio has huge windows overlooking Bowery.
I’ve taken 3 classes at ModelFIT: Sculpt, Dance Cardio and Cardio Sculpt. I took the Dance Cardio in LA and to my dismay, it was terrible. The instructor told us to “strut” and “pose” during this 8 am session. I was expecting to be out of breath but at the end of it, I hadn’t even broken a sweat.
I took the other two classes at the NYC location. I took the Sculpt class twice with the same instructor–Lilli Van Hall. She was great. She derives her moves from Jane Fonda work out videos and incorporates Katonah Yoga moves. She taught me moves I’ve never seen before and really isolated the muscles — small movements using your own body weight=lean model-esque muscle.
Lastly, I did the Cardio Sculpt class which ended up being more like a bootcamp. It was set up like a circuit training gym class. The instructor, whilst wearing fuzzy at-home socks, told us to act like adults and do the moves properly (???) after the ostensibly disappointing first round. The moves involved dead lifts, froggers and running in place — not really what I would’ve expected.
Verdict: These two studios aren’t my favorite but BBS wins over ModelFIT. When searching for studios that’ll help you achieve a sculpted body — check out Pop Physique or Pilates+DTLA (which uses the megareformer just like SLT in NYC) instead. If you’re trying to push your body to the limit to see results quickly, definitely give Body by Simone’s Trampoline Cardio a shot.