All gyms are NOT created equal. Differences in space and equipment aside, they have different personalities and goals. We wanted to give you a chance to find out a little bit about us. Violet Community has 3 core values through which we filter all our activity. See Value One and Three.
Let me tell you a story. It was a dark and stormy night … wait wrong story. It was just another Tuesday for Jordan. The kids went off to school and he headed to the office for a routine workday. A meeting or two, emails, and some quality work on some medium sized projects.
Just as he was getting ready to head out, his boss popped her head in. She said there was a security issue at Corporate Headquarters and everyone needed to change workflow systems. This means his medium-sized projects all need to be completely redone.
Leaving work, Jordan is a little tired, somewhat hangry and certainly annoyed! Now every minor thing feels like a major irritation. The car not turning right on red, the trucks in the left lane, no good songs coming on the playlist – even the trip home feels like a battle. Walking in the garage doesn’t help matters. The kids had challenging days at school, his spouse has frustrations to process, it’s trash day tomorrow, someone complained about dinner, dishes need done, the list trailed on.
After the kids are finally in bed, Jordan looks for a treat to lift his mood. He grabs a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, even though he knows he’s semi lactose intolerant. He rationalizes that the short-term comfort will be worth it. WELP he was wrong. Oh it sure tasted great going down but he was then up several times, making for a restless night.
Wednesday morning rolls around and he’s groggy with a headache. The things that were irritating last night are STILL irritating today, along with several new things. He gets to work to start those medium sized projects over again and everyone spends half the morning commiserating about the poor hand they were dealt. That evening, one of the kids asks him to play soccer outside since it’s a beautiful evening. Jordan is rather snippy and the evening ends in tears for several family members and everyone goes to bed a bit off kilter. Thursday morning comes and the cycle just repeats itself.
What Jordan was experiencing is a truth everyone is somewhat aware of, but doesn’t always play a role in our decision making. Health is multifaceted. Put another way, the choices we make in one area of life have a powerful influence on others, whether we mean them to or not. Our physical bodies can be influenced by mental stress which can also affect our emotional reactions to others. These reactions impact our relationships with loved ones, which can alter our nutritional choices which in turn changes our physical image again.
Play and Joy
Our first value talks about improving real life in some tangible way or another through our experience at the gym. What other areas of health can we positively affect through exercise?
We take our physical health and wellness seriously, but it does NOT mean we have to be “serious” all the time. We believe time and permission for adults to simply play are severely lacking. According to a UK survey, almost two thirds of adults have given up the activities they enjoyed in childhood. Those who kept them up, only develop a new skill every one and a half years.
Beyond what learning does for us, the connections between the physical and everything else is undeniable. Do you ever have trouble sleeping? Do you experience stress, anxiety or depression at one time or another? We certainly aren’t saying that an hour in the gym will magically cure any mental health situation but we DO believe (as Stuart Brown says) that “the opposite of play isn’t work, its depression”.
Adults often worry that being playful will get them labeled as childish. What’s so wrong with that? Children are incredibly creative, eager to learn, and inventive. Wouldn’t you want to be childish if that is the definition?
Furthermore, we firmly believe play is tremendously important to our overall health. Study after study illustrates playtime helps relieve stress and boosts innovation and productivity. Play can even facilitate deep connections between strangers and cultivate healing. We’ve all heard “laughter is the best medicine”, and numerous studies back that up.
At Violet Community we want to include play in our time in the box. That’s why you may see “high knees with arm circles” in a warm-up or hear Disney tunes during a strength. It’s why we give nicknames when someone does something funny. It’s why we send funny memes and tell stories in class. We want you to play hard, let your hair down and be silly occasionally.
We want to give you the mental confidence and physical tools to “play” at whatever your heart desires. Whether your “play” is a solitary hike in the mountains, blowing endless bubbles for your toddler, killing a round of golf, doing the “worm” at a wedding, walking through museums for hours, joining an adult sport league, a girls night of karaoke … WHATEVER IT IS, we want you to enjoy it all!
Let’s go back to Jordan for a minute. Let’s imagine he had that same crappy day at work, that same irritating commute back towards his neighborhood. But THIS time, he decided to stop by the gym on the way home. He heard a favorite song as he changed. He forgot the worries of the day for a few minutes as he concentrated on a stretch or movement that is challenging for him. He started to sweat and release a lot of the stress and tension he’d been carrying around. He completed a tough workout and shared that experience with others who are also working hard and enjoying it.
He headed home, flush with his accomplishments and a new anecdote to tell the family. His body was tired but it felt good. He was more present with his family and listened to the stories of their day. He ate well at dinner and chose to forgo the “make me feel good now” options of excessive alcohol or sugar. Since he was physically tired, sleep came easier and he got in some quality hours. The next day, he woke up a bit more rested and prepared to tackle the day.
Was the situation at work magically resolved? Nope. Did the circumstances of his life change overnight? Of course not. But he was able to handle the stress of those situations in a much better way. And since any facet of health and well-being affects all the other parts, his purposeful decision to do something good for his physical health had some positive reverberations into his mental, emotional and relational health. THAT is what we want for you.