Get to know Kendall! In addition to being one of our strongHER FHITpros, she is an inspiration to us when it comes to her experiences with mental health. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we thought it would be a perfect time to talk to Kendall about self-care, exercise, and more.
First, let’s get to know you! How long have you been working at Fhitting Room and what do you love about being a FHITpro?
I’ve been a FhitPro at Fhitting Room for 3 years. Besides genuinely believing in the product that Fhitting Room offers and what they stand for, I absolutely love seeing the impact our classes have on our clients. When I walk into a class (or log into Zoom) to teach, I go in knowing that no matter what I’m going through, my job is to help our clients feel better, more confident, and inspired. Truly, nothing makes me happier.
Can you share a bit about your journey with your mental health and what you’ve learned from your experiences?
When I was in high school, a family member was struggling with her mental health pretty intensely. I didn’t fully know what anxiety and depression were before that and remember thinking ‘she’s beautiful, on the dance team, popular, so she must be overreacting to get out of school.’
After going through that journey with my family for years, I not only learned more about mental health but also got a better understanding of why I feel the way I do sometimes. I used to chalk it up to being too emotional and too sensitive, or when it was really bad, I would go to the doctor because I thought something was wrong with my heart.
In reality, I was also struggling with anxiety.
My experiences have made me less judgmental and more empathetic and compassionate towards others. They have taught me to just listen and validate how people feel, regardless of my personal opinions. I’ve learned that we really never know what people are going through behind closed doors.
Why do you think talking about mental health still has a stigma attached to it?
I think when people don’t personally experience something or understand it, it’s easy to make assumptions and pass judgment. Mental health isn’t something that we physically see so it’s easy to brush it off as being made up or not important. We also live in a society, especially with social media, that rewards the people that look like they live a perfect, happy, stress-free life. Very rarely do we see the behind-the-scenes. This perpetuates the idea that anything other than that is wrong or not “normal”.
How does exercising impact your mental health?
The consistency and empowerment I feel when exercising have been a game-changer for my mental health. It gives me confidence and proves to myself that I can do hard things.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
That depends on the day you ask me! Today my self-care is blocking out time to take a nap, but tomorrow it might be booking a trip to California (kidding…but not). The most common for me is working out, with my phone on airplane mode.
Over time, I realized the importance of listening to what my body and mind need daily and making self-care a non-negotiable. Without it, I won’t be able to show up at my best for the people and things that matter most to me.
Do you have any advice for others who struggle with staying mentally healthy?
Struggling with mental health can feel so isolating; like you’re all alone to deal with a pile of negativity; like it’ll never end; like no one understands and it’s too hard to put into words. I get it and for whatever it’s worth, you’re not alone and you’re not crazy.
My best advice would be to come up with a list of things that make you feel good and people you trust. When sh*t hits the fan, confide in those people when you’re ready or pick something from the list to do. This can be anything from taking a walk, painting, listening to music, or whatever you like. Sometimes just interrupting those thoughts can make a big difference in our ability to move forward and feel better.