Wednesday, January 11, 2012

28 days. (the importance of self-care.)

On Saturday, I was supposed to begin the 28 Day Challenge: 28 days straight of at least 30 minutes of exercise.

I missed the first two days.

This is kind of how the new year has been, by the way. Full of ups and downs, goals both kept and unmet. Intentions overshadowed by life: by hospice visits and broken hot water heaters, by canceled plans and late nights. I waver between moments of gratitude and moments of exhaustion. My brain and my body simply cannot decide: celebrate and press on, or resign and curl into the fetal position?

Yesterday, I didn’t have much of a choice.

My first night of BSF was starting, and I had tutoring to do. There was a hair appointment on the calendar and a phone call to be made. Reality sometimes must be faced, and last night, when I got home, I remembered that stupid 28 day challenge.

Every day of exercise you miss, a dollar must be paid. (I currently owe $3.)

So I got off the couch and plugged in Just Dance 3. As a rule, I never dance anywhere that is not my car, perhaps not for lack of desire, but for lack of rhythm and grace. It is not something my body does well. But it was raining, and I refuse to enter the doors of the gym. So Just Dance 3 it was. You know what? I bet I looked absolutely ridiculous. But it didn’t matter. I was laughing and exercising and working up a disgusting sweat.

I had fun.

This is a breakthrough for me, this idea that exercise (because I am convinced it was exercise) can be fun.

And while Ke$ha blared in the background and my arms and limbs flailed separate from my body, I also remembered: This is important. Self-care is important. In the midst of grief and exhaustion and frustration, I cannot forget me. That’s not selfish; that’s smart. Every part of me — body, soul, and mind — needs care and attention so that I can conquer the days ahead.

Yesterday, that meant a haircut. A showing of The Bachelor. Bible study with fellow believers. The latest episode of Parenthood. Exercise. A hot shower.

Sometimes, yes, we curl ourselves into a ball and cry on the couch. (For all I know, I may do that today.) 

But sometimes we have to press on. We have to keep moving so that when the phone call comes, when the routine falls apart, when life is replaced with a new normal... We will be okay.


Jordan Jones said...

You didn't look too ridiculous last night. In fact, I think that game would have aided you with Jamboree if it could have been set to the proper moves...

Jessica said...

i'm a big believer in self care. parenthood is an awesome form of it! i love that show! sometimes the best thing is a good fetal position cry. praying for you, blog friend. take care of yourself.

paulakiger said...

Good for you - there is SO much that exercise can do for you. I honestly think I process things better that I do while moving (i.e., I retain much more of info from podcasts if I listened to them while running/walking/biking). And there is TONS of evidence re how exercise helps with stress reduction .... good for you for hanging in there!!

Elizabeth Dean said...

Exercise is the absolute best self care. A good diet comes in second, but a distant second. People that are healthy, happy, less depressed, less anxious, less stressed, live longer, have better skin, better sex, better attitudes, enjoy their jobs more, have a better sense of purpose, all have exercise in common. Scientists argue that diets and religious beliefs, etc are all diversely different among people who say they feel all of the above but the one thing they all have in common is exercising more days than no.

Good for you.

Sydney said...

what a wonderful post! Good for you for tackling your challenges and being flexible in your goals! I've said it before, but you really are a wonderful writer

Julie said...

I joined a fitness challenge and have been slouching out of doing anything I said I was going to do:( I need some motivation and have none.

I say GOOD FOR YOU! That is fantastic. Maybe I need to have some sort of $ consequence. I like that idea.


Liz said...

Good for you! I'm a big believer that whatever exercise you choose should be fun. I LOVE doing those dancing games for that very reason.... I don't feel like it's exercise.
I think that people forget about self care - we try to take care of others and ignore what we need. It's good that you took some time for yourself ... and talked about it instead of feeling guilty.