This past week has been a whirlwind of planning, parties, work, snow, family time, crises, snuggling and education. It’s no joke. It’s honestly hard to believe that so much has happened in a single seven day period. I think we have all had one of those weeks, when we look back at the end of it and are astounded at all that we accomplished and experienced and more than a little surprised that we made it through.
I wanted to share with you a piece of the journey in this little chunk of time. While I value the experiences, feelings, growth, emotions and education and I could have written about any of it, the one thing that stood out the most in this dynamic week, was something so simple I honestly surprised myself. My biggest takeaway from this time was the power of physical activity.
I know, I know. I shook my head at me too, but it’s true! There was more to do than I thought could be done most days. I participated in a super demanding training that required all of my personal growth. There were two parties, one that I hosted, both with their own menu chock full of indulgent options. I was a support to the people who needed me. I stood up for myself in my career even when no one seemed to be listening. My husband was sick, my car made scary noises, I ate cheesecake before bed. For some people that’s just a typical week, but halfway through I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep getting up in the morning.
And then I remembered how good it feels to be active. Ok, I remembered that it was a thing that makes me feel better, and it’s good for me, and it’s a stress reliever. Then I did it and remembered how good it feels to be active…
When I exercise I wonder why I ever choose not to. I feel so good after a workout that I honestly wonder how I ever forget, how I convince myself that moving my body won’t be worth it. I looked back at the distraught, couch lounging me and admonish her to never again choose sedentary snacking for the third day in a row over doing something to make her feel alive.
And that’s what this breaks down to. We, all of us, were designed to move, to use these bodies we’ve been given. They were made with devices that flood us with feel-good chemicals when we decide to fire up our muscles and get moving.
How easily I forget. I think of the chore of “working out” and let my brain’s perception of the near-death experience of burpees overshadow the truth. When given the choice my little ol’ self has slipped into the rut of remembering how annoying it is to have to undress and dress an additional two times, shivering in the freezing air both times just to get sweaty and achy and tired.
But that one day, I decided to move my body. I thought about it with excitement all day. Ok, I thought about it with excitement for most of the day, the first few times I wasn’t quite excited. I did what I needed to do, found a video of some people I like who are always happy and encouraging and I did my best to keep up.
Nothing huge changed. I didn’t immediately look fitter, or feel amazing. My skin didn’t clear up and I still remembered the challenges facing me. But you know what? I did feel better. My body felt an undercurrent of energy, chasing away the fog and lethargy of the last few days. As I recovered from the initial work of the exercise, I was happier. My perspective changed and I felt more capable of taking on whatever came next. I felt healthier. I might have still had cravings for cake and potato chips, but they weren’t yelling anymore.
I don’t expect anyone to read my little tale and become a fitness guru. My experience probably won’t convince anyone that exercise is better than laying on the couch or that they too can crave salads if they just workout more. But since that’s not my intention I won’t worry. It’s my experience that it takes all sorts of factors to keep us moving in the direction of our happiest, best, most fulfilled lives. We make playlists, design vision boards, listen to podcasts, scroll feeds and read books all to help keep us on the path to our desired goals. Consider this another voice in the crowd shouting encouragement, giving a reminder.
Moving your body can feel good.
Being active will flood your brain with chemicals that make you feel happier.
Your problems will still be just as big when you finish a workout, but you will be stronger.
When life is looming and your perspective is getting out of whack, sometimes all you need is to spend some time moving to convince yourself that you are tough and determined, capable and strong, healthy and dedicated.
Exercise doesn’t fix everything. It’s not a magic cure all or a fast solution to anything. But it can help. And sometimes that’s all you need.
If you want to get moving but aren’t sure where to start or are bored with your options check out these resources: