There is not a single person I know who isn’t having a rough time this year. I know people struggling with work circumstances, either having lost a job or having to work crazy hours to make up for cutbacks. I know people worried about their health or the health of their loved ones. I know people struggling with childcare needs or their kids’ virtual learning. Covid, natural disasters, politics…it’s all enough to make anyone want to just crawl in a corner with a tub of ice cream and call it a day.
But if ever there was a year to begin taking care of your health and wellness, this would be it.
All these stressors are exactly the reason it is more important than ever to focus on your health first. Having had covid-19 myself and known others who have, I can say firsthand that this is a challenge you will have wanted to train for if, heaven forbid, you become ill. Even if you don’t become ill, this year has enough other challenges to throw your way. You want to be in the best place possible to handle them.
That begins with you making a commitment to yourself.
For the first part of this year…I wasn’t doing that. Like most people, I sought comfort in my sourdough starter and netflix. I hid in my home and hoped things would get better. I ran from room to room making sure my kids were on zoom sessions for school in between work demands. I put myself and my own care last, thinking that once everyone else was taken care of, THEN it would be time to focus on me.
That magical “me” time never came.
The clock would hit bedtime before I knew it and there were still tasks left undone even before I’d get to myself on my list. I’d tumble into bed tired but unable to sleep well and wish life was different or at least more like 2019. I’d dread the morning when I knew I’d have to get up and face it all over again.
I don’t even know exactly what clicked this summer to change that, but it did. By chance, I actually clicked on one of the workout ads on my Facebook feed and, next thing I knew, I’d signed up for a workout and nutrition program. Once I’d made that investment, I felt like I needed to get my money’s worth. I didn’t want to waste our family’s funds. So, I set my alarm earlier and got up and put myself first, before all the other things on my to-do list. I got my workouts in and prepped my food and stuck to it.
And when Covid hit me, I was thankful I did.
I’ve talked with others who made it through Covid and there has been an ongoing refrain. Most of the people I have talked to have either been thankful that they were physically active and in decent shape when they caught it or wished that they had been. Being in better shape seems to make it easier. I know for myself that it felt like my whole body was under one huge stress test when I was sick and I was thankful for all the breathless hours spent in my workouts that helped me breathe when I was sick.
Even before and after Covid, though, I have found that eating right and working out has really helped me deal with the stresses that this year has thrown my way. Before I started taking care of myself, my anxiety was through the roof. I had a prescription for Xanax for at night, in case our neighborhood got unruly and I felt unsafe. My reflux was worse. I was winded going up and down the stairs, so even just doing laundry or regular activity was a struggle. My nerves were shot and I was irritable.
As I began prioritizing my own health, I had more breathing room in my life. Each task took less energy and every stressor took less of a toll. I didn’t need the Xanax anymore and my sleep improved. My reflux has all but disappeared. I get out of bed without the joint and spine stiffness I had. When the unexpected does happen, which it still does, I’m better able to roll with it.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband had major surgery to remove cancer that he’s been in treatment for this year. I’m not sure how I would have made it through the past 2 weeks if I hadn’t made these changes in my life. It was still challenging, but not nearly as much as it would have been for the me of 6 months ago.
If ever there was a year that you NEED to put yourself first, put your own oxygen mask on so that you have more overflow available to give to those you love or yourself, this year is definitely it. If you need help getting started or finding programs that work for you, on your schedule, please reach out to me. I’d love to help you live better, even in such a crazy year!