At a time when I needed it most, spending an hour dancing around to latin-inspired music every week gave me hope and lifted my spirits. Instead of taking Xanax to calm my anxiety, I got up, got dressed and went to Zumba class. And it worked.
Zumba was never my favorite workout. I had taken a class several years ago and felt like I had two left feet. Fast forward to November 2016. I had recently lost my mother unexpectedly, only a couple of years after losing my dad. I left my job to focus on settling my mom’s affairs and taking care of my 4 year old son. Life as I once knew it was totally topsy-turvy and I was trying to get my footing.
I decided to join a gym in my area and, in looking at the group class schedule, noticed a lot of Zumba classes. Initially, I was a little disappointed as I was used to taking Body Sculpting or Pilates classes. But, one day I decided to see what it was all about – maybe something had changed from the class I took so many years ago. Looking back, I’m not sure what made me decide to try that class, but it was a decision that has greatly impacted my life since.
I’m not gonna lie – that first class was tough. I still felt a bit self-conscious at not knowing the steps, but the group there was so welcoming and the music was a great mix of traditional and contemporary. I kept going to the classes and found that each time it was a little easier to follow along. Soon, I was looking forward to going and hearing the songs I enjoyed and losing myself a little in the moves, and even laughing!
As the one year anniversary of my mom’s passing approaches, I feel like I’ve honored her by keeping it together and taking care of the things that need to be taken care of. Along the way were a lot of ups and downs, but continuing to take Zumba kept me on a straight path to finishing what I set out to do, no matter how painful and unpleasant it was. I still miss my mom every day, but feel like I am getting a little stronger each day and rebuilding my life. Zumba has definitely helped me on this path and for that, I am grateful.
If you are experiencing a challenge in life, trying something different and totally out of your comfort zone may help. I believe that any physical activity will help us to be healthy physically as well as mentally, and give us strength to deal with stressful situations. For me, trying something new and different ended up giving me a renewed sense of self and a new perspective on things. Maybe having a healthy outlet to channel my feelings of sadness and grief has led me on this path to where I am now – all I know is that Zumba class has truly saved my life. So, to anyone out there feeling lost, find your “Zumba,” and, instead of staying on a path of despair, choose a path of hope and adventure.