Okay. I admit it. Sometimes my decisions verge on lunacy. The latest of these is to participate in an 8-week fitness challenge through the University of New Mexico. That decision, at least, is wise. I’ve been stressed at work and forcing myself to exercise daily for a strategic length of time is bound to be helpful.
Where it gets wacky is what I decided immediately after signing up for the program. I’ve committed to exercising 90 minutes a day. That’s the maximum the program will let a participant record in a single day. I know it doesn’t sound like much during the 15 hours or so I’m awake, but in reality, it requires a lot of planning.
My life is already full. Work takes about 9-11 hours most days. Every other week I get to be a full-time mom in addition to the outside job. And I don’t think I mentioned that I’ve got two small freelance PR gigs right now. I also do try to fit in at least a small amount of creative writing daily.
As always, I’m not complaining here; I’m just showing you the challenge of trying to fit in that extra 1.5 hours to work out. My weekday routine seems to be to roll out of bed between 5:00 – 5:15 a.m. and hit the elliptical machine in my living room. I bought myself an Aeropilates machine and that lives in my dining room. Between the two, I’ve managed to get 1 hour in before driving the kids to school and going to work.
During the day, I take a break every once in a while to walk up and down the 2 or 3 flights of stairs (depending on which door I enter) to get to my office. I walk at lunch. And there’s a twice-weekly yoga class that I’m hoping to attend.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well . . . I’ve just made it through my first week. On average, I’ve been exercising more than 100 minutes a day. Barring illness, I expect to be able to keep this pace through May 11 when the program ends. After that, I hope to be in enough of a habit that I can commit to 1hr/daily — no matter what.
I guess my point today is this: A few months ago, I couldn’t even manage 20 minutes of exercise on a consistent basis. Now I’m exceeding that mightily.
It’s a matter of priorities.
The same goes for writing or anything else that you know is important to you.
No excuses. Just find a way to do it.
What is something you’ve decided is essential to your emotional, creative or physical wellbeing and how do you regularly integrate it into your life?
Mmmm. . . Don't suppose playing Words with Friends every evening counts?
Except a good friend and I always chat while we play, sometimes about important stuff and sometimes not so much. This seems to have become a good transition between Family Time and Me Time.
And at a designated point (not always when I'm losing, thanks), I stop to write — or she tells me it's time to sign off and get to work. Which I almost always do.
So I guess it does count . . .
Playing video games. It's a way to focus on something that really has no bearing on my life– pressing buttons, getting to difficult places, and so forth. The ones with plots are best, because then I get the added bonus of an adventure while I escape from everyday life.
It's surprisingly hard to fit them into my schedule– I always feel like everything else should come first– but if I don't take that time to myself, getting odd little rewards and feeling as though I'm accomplished at something, I get cranky.
I manage it, Pari, but not as graciously as you! I needed to read this today, as I was thinking yesterday that a couple of things that I know I need to do have slipped out of my routine. Ultimately I just have to make the decision to put them back in, and as you say, prioritize them and stop moaning about it. That you have done it while working long days out of the home and managing freelance gigs and writing really makes me applaud AND inspires me.
I've decided that petting dogs is essential to my emotional, creative and physical well-being. It's about the only thing I've been able to commit to on a regular basis. Thank God I own a dog.
"No excuses" are words to live by. God knows I'm trying…
I'm back at exercise after a hiatus driven by deadline frenzy. Don't like what happened to the mind or body without it. I have a bike and love riding it, and normally get 1 hour in when weather permits, plus about 30 minutes of sit-ups and pushups.
But I can't do it first thing. That belongs to writing. Exercise comes later in the day. Sometimes even at night. (Tricky on the bike, but I'm careful.)
What I'd love to add is practice on the guitar, but that seems like a dream. To be the writer I hope to be I have to give up the musician I wanted to be. And so my chops have turned to slops.
I'm like Stephen–gots me my dog and my cat, and petting them sooths me.
That said, exercise, yes! I have a hard enough time getting in a hour, four times a week. But as you say, Pari, it's all about prioritization. I feel like I'm a continual work in progress. I get something under control — right now that would be cooking myself vegan meals, eating healthy in general — and something else slithers out of control.
One of my constant struggles is the need for downtime. I need quite a lot of it to recharge. I just get kind of tired and need naps sometimes. Is anyone else like that?
Dance or some other workout is my one no-break commitment; I couldn't function without it. Or I'd be doped up on some kind of anti depressant, I'm sure.
Meditation should be up there but I've slipped.
Recently, I have undertaken reading the Bible, not because I am having a religious renaissance but rather because it's that book everybody has heard of and I have never read it in its entirety. In the front of the edition I am using is a daily schedule so that you can complete the task in a calendar year. Currently, I'm on February 5; so, you can see, incorporating it into my life hasn't gone as planned.
Thank you for your comments so far. I'm just popping in for a minute before jumping back into work.
Sarah, I've never played "Words with Friends." I hear it's a hoot, but am scared to add anything else to my life!
Alaina, That sounds like so much fun. I think when I get through the next month and a half, I might actually see if that would be something enjoyable for me.
Billie, thank you so much. I needed to read your comment today! I don't think I'm doing any of this graciously at all. But I'm trying.
You are a constant source of inspiration!
Last year I made a habit of walking every day, in all weathers, but that's slipped a lot lately. I should get back to the bicycle, and the aerobics, and, and, and …
At the moment I'm trying to reorganise my work patterns so I get more written each day in less time. Touch wood it seems to be working. If it continues to do so, I can sneak the exercise back in without feeling guilty because I should be scribbling instead.
Petting a dog sounds like a wonderful form of exercise, though. Give it a few years and it'll probaby become an olympic sport 🙂
Zoe, I would love to hear more about your tricks for getting more writing accomplished in less time!
I also get up early to exercise (all though not quite that early!). My alarm goes off at 5.40am – four days a week.
I'd like to do yoga or stretching in there somehow. But find my time is tight. Mind you, compared to your schedule, Pari, it's pretty good 🙂
To Zoe and Lisa – 10K days…I swear by them. https://www.murderati.com/blog/2011/8/4/10000-words-in-one-day-no-wayway.html
Phillipa, thank for adding the link. My stomach started to twist around with nerves just reading about 10K days! Honest to god, I wonder if I could do it! (Probably should just give it a try and see!)