So, I know you guys probably didn’t realize this, but it’s December. Actually, it’s late enough in December that you could basically just say it’s almost January.
Here in Virginia we’ve had a very mild winter …until the last couple weeks. As those of you who are semi-regular followers know, my main mode of exercise has been walking and hiking with the occasional short run here and there. Well, there’s not been much walking happening for about two weeks now. I’m lucky if I can hit 10,000 steps each day and, boy, do I feel the affect it’s having on my mood and generally well-being.
Yes, there are other options. Let’s talk a little bit about some of those other options for a moment… I’ve been writing “start strength training” as one of my goals on my little weekly planner calendar thingie every. single. week. for about 3 months now. I haven’t done any strength training other than a squat occasionally (usually to pick something up off the floor.) Maybe some ab thingies. Maybe a yoga here and there. I’m not into it right now even though in the back of my head I’m super into the awesome things it does to and for my body – and because of that I keep flirting with beating myself up until I force myself to start lifting heavy things again. This is problematic for several reasons, but mainly: by doing this I’m definitely not honoring my promise to myself last month to be okay with feeling kind of “blah” during the deep winter we’re coming into and practicing self-care surrounding that.
On top of the general blahs, I’ve been insanely busy with my day job on top of the usual craziness going on during the holidays. This has lead to some pretty intense mental and emotional burnout. There have been several days that I’m going 100mph all day long and then get ready for bed and, in that moment of quiet, realize I’m completely overwhelmed and am not taking care of myself emotionally which then leads to anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of everything from silent weeping to full-on hysterical bawling. That’s certainly not a great mental state to be in.
Thankfully, I know that this pace at work will start to slow as we start January and I’ll have a little more time to breathe. Until then I just have to do the best I can with what I have – and for a few more weeks, that’s going to be very little. So, even though exercise is definitely great for managing stress and boosting all those happy chemicals in your brain, getting all stressed trying to squeeze it in when I’m already mentally overloaded is not going to be beneficial. And, I’m sorry, but there’s just not going to be any 3-5 miles of walking happening when the high temps are only hitting the mid-20s. That’s just miserable. Maybe the weather will warm back up to the 40s and 50s, though, and I can get some fresh and air and sunshine now and again. Once I’m through my busy season at work and through the Christmas holiday, I’ll think about investing some time into my mother-in-law’s treadmill and take advantage of some of the awesome YouTube channels out there like Yoga With Adriene and FitnessBlender.
Meanwhile, my #1 priority is to renew that promise to myself and focus on self-care. Winter solstice is nearly upon us, and that means the daylight hours will start stretching longer. I know by the end of February I’ll begin to feel much more myself. Until then, I just have to be kind and gentle to myself; no more flirting with self-hate or shame to motivate physical activities I’m just not interested in doing right now.