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My name is Shawn, and I’m a 21 year old diagnosed with depression.  This year I took up fitness, because I lost myself to the Covid-19 pandemic.  I gave in by indulging in fast food without exercising, which as a results, caused profound stress on my health and wellbeing.  I didn’t know how to function in a world that had stopped functioning.

Did you know that two months into the pandemic “young people aged 18-24 reported feelings of hopelessness more than the overall adult population” according to  In addition, the UK consumed, on average, more takeaway food than any time outside of the pandemic.

To cement the lack of hope, “60% of young people felt their generation will be permanently disadvantaged by the pandemic” and “37% said the odds are stacked against them”, suggests Co-op.

So what can we do? First and foremost, fight! We survived a viral pandemic, now find the strength to fight for yourself, because your life is more than a statistic. Secondly, eat well and exercise! We are doing a disservice to ourselves, stripping years from our life through excessive eating and lack of fitness.

To compound this has been social isolation, the biggest contributor to increased cases of depression and anxiety. Health and wellbeing extends beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, and while you may be immune to the virus, you are not immune to the stress placed on your body at such a young age. If you can’t change for you, do it for your future!

By joining your local health club or leisure centre, you are signing up to a life of fitness, with fantastic people wanting to improve themselves like you.

Are you ready to join a community in the fight against a new pandemic? Are you ready to fight for your mental and physical freedom, reconnect with society and regain power in your personal and professional life? In this new pandemic, YOU are the vaccine. YOU have the power to create meaningful change.

Affected by social isolation? Join your local fitness community and reignite connections, while rebuilding the confidence to not only face challenges, but smash them!

Dislike how you look? Firstly, you look great. However, if you aren’t happy with yourself, consider your local leisure centre and rediscover your true self – because you won’t find it buried in social media filters.

Fitness didn’t cure my depression, however, it did help me reframe my thoughts, gain the motivation to pursue my career goals and build the confidence needed to face everyday challenges.

I am a lot happier and fulfilled as a result of exercising more regularly and maintaining a healthier diet, which has benefitted me financially too, as I no longer stress eat. With the extra money, I can now comfortably afford leisure activities, and so can you!

On a final note; you are more than your end result. By taking up fitness, you are creating ripples in your pond of life and anything that floats in your pond will react to that. Whether it’s your job, school or connections with others, you should feel proud knowing that you started something important. So why not start today? Reclaim your freedom, whatever that means to you!

Written by Shawn and shared with The Side Hussle.