It happens.... life comes screeching in, throwing all the organized piles of our life in disarray. And then what usually gets tossed aside? The emphasis on taking care of ourselves.
There's something in our human hard-drive that wants to take care of the people around us: what do they need, what will make them comfortable. Maybe it's got something to do with the good ol' days when it took that sacrifice to survive. Be selfless for the good of the tribe.
Our fight or flight instincts haven't changed all that much. But what has changed is the things that send us into fight or flight mode. We are no longer in the age of being chased by lions. Modern day times instead bring us work deadlines, a boss breathing down our neck (or cell phone) about that client, those kids crying they are hungry (or just straight up bored), the baby's diaper that needs changed while your oldest just kicked down the sculpture you made in pottery class, the mother-in-law coming to live with you, and the bills stuffing your mailbox.
The difference between these issues and the ones of our biological past is that any of them could be ignored for a little bit and we would still live to tell the tale. It's not that these things are not important...they certainly are! But we tend to still put all of these things ahead of our own needs.
GUESS WHAT?! YOU ARE DOING YOUR WORLD AND EVERYONE IN IT A DISSERVICE BY NOT PUTTING YOUR NEEDS FIRST.
You've heard it on airplanes and I will say it here, too. PUT ON YOUR OWN MASK FIRST.
If during this time of COVID, or some future crazy time in your life, you lose your way on the path to your health and fitness goals, REASSESS the following. This is your road map to get back on track. You are worthy of a FULL cup just as much as the next person.
1) Is your daily schedule inconsistent?
Are you constantly entering each day juggling whatever comes at you as it comes at you just hoping the day will provide a window to take care of you? Are you sporadic in your meal planning, meal timing (maybe even just not eating sometimes), and workouts, not able to generate momentum?
Your schedule probably has something to do with feeling this directionless, and likely burnt out. We are creatures that thrive best on momentum. It's hard to stop a rolling wheel after all. Get yourself on a routine each day. Wake up at the same time 5 days a week at least (unless you work nights, then go for 4). Take care of your needs first at the same time every single day. Eliminate the things that are constantly throwing interruptions in your natural rhythms. Train the world around you, not wait for the world to stop spinning so you can catch your breath.
2) Is your method of movement/exercise resonating with you or is it causing resistance within you?
If you're feeling resistant to the physical activity you've been doing, you'll be even less likely to make it a priority. In fact, that activity can actually become a SOURCE of your stress instead of a stress-reliever.
It's not just our bodies that get something from physical activity. So do our minds. So take a good look at what you are doing. What method of movement is calling to you right now? A dance class? Biking? Running? Lifting some heavy stuff? Kicking some things?! Or just vibing on a mat?
Physical activity will morph according to either 1) your physical goal or 2) what's going on in your life affecting your mental state. It's okay to shift towards supporting your mind when life calls for it. In fact, supporting your mind is actually more important long term. If our mind is taken care of, our bodies usually follow. So stop trying to force a workout that's not working for you, and go find something else you'd rather do with your body instead.
3) Are you taking on the habits of the people around you?
Right now, this is the issue most people are having as we are all stuck at home with our loved ones 24/7. However, I think those that fall for this the most are those that also struggle with it when we are out and about in our social circles, too.
If you lost your way among your hubby's desire to imbibe each night, or your kids affinity for Pop-Tarts, FORGIVE YOURSELF. If you're reading this post-COVID, and you lost your way among your friends' hobby to brewery hop, or whatever your friends are into, FORGIVE YOURSELF.
And then after you forgive yourself, ask yourself why those with bad habits are allowed to influence us all the time? Why can't it be us influencing them?
THINK ABOUT WHAT IT IS YOU WANT, and then consider what YOU NEED to get there. If you need a snack cabinet just for your kids food while they school and play and live at home, DO IT. If you need to stand up to your hubby and tell him he will have to enjoy alone while you mocktail and request his support, DO IT. If you need to take charge of the home cooking, DO IT. If you need to take a pause from your friends brewery invites in the future so you can focus on YOU, DO IT!
What you WANT, and what you WANT TO DO are ALLOWED. You are not weird or boring. You are simply on a different playing field. And THAT'S OK!
4) Are you working in a way that helps you stay composed, energized and organized?
Bosses, clients, coworkers, PTA Meetings, HOA Meetings, etc....they won't matter on your death bed. If you are saying YES to what everyone else wants (meeting times, commitments, roles of responsibility, etc), you will feel depleted.
Schedule YOUR time FIRST. Where do you need gaps in your day to workout, to rest, to eat, to read, to work on your hobbies? Put those in your calendar just like you would a doctor's appointment. Then build your "yeses" around that. Built in time to support your best you means you get to bring your best to the things that remain in the schedule.
Take control of your schedule and your time and make no apologies for it. And with that, I segue way to....
5) Do you believe you're worth 30 min. of time a day? And 60 extra min. on the weekend?
If your answer to this question is a "no", we need to have a serious talk because that's just ridiculous. You are worth at a minimum this much time each day and weekend. And with this time you could give back to yourself in the form of a quick workout or some weekend food prep. These are the basic fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle or anyone with a health goal.
If you keep getting in the habit of making work, kids, and partners a priority...it'll end up being 9:00pm every single day until you can finally MAYBE focus on yourself. By that time, you'll be too tired. You can stand to stop what you're doing at a decent hour and give yourself 30-60 minutes of undivided attention. You just have to choose it. And I bet after you do so, you'll be even more productive than you were before you stopped.
So what do you need fixing? One, two, three, ALL of the above? You have to get ALL IN on this experience. ALL IN is what builds a lifestyle. Fight for what you want. Organize and design your life to support what you need. Do not apologize for asking for what you need. I promise the world won't fall. In fact, it'll be the most responsible thing you've done for yourself. Maybe in a long long time.