We’ve all felt it at one point or another: the desire to be healthy, and the discouragement at how hard it is to achieve. We know that we should be taking care of ourselves; whether we are reminded by current health concerns we encounter on a regular basis, or we are simply trying to ensure we don’t encounter problems as we age (while we await the science that ensures immortality to be made available to the public). There is the need to feel like we are in control of our bodies, but it can often feel the other way around. Often it is hard to feel like we have control, on top of work, relationships, hobbies, constructing cosplays, reading the whole internet, and maintaining some semblance of a social life who has time to work out and eat healthy?
I’m here to tell you it isn’t as hard as you imagine. There is always time. It may not be much, but any time you can spare is better than nothing. Even just knowing that you have made time to take care of your own personal needs, that you have made yourself a priority in your life, is rewarding in and of itself.
You can find time.
You have to plan it. You have to schedule, and organize, and stick to that schedule.
You have to make the decision to do something good for yourself, promise yourself that you will stick to your guns, and not break that promise.
At the beginning of the year I promised myself I would stop saying “no” to opportunities – this was my New Year’s resolution (is anyone else still talking about those?). And I stuck to it. But, this also left me in a tough position. I said “yes” to every opportunity that came my way. I said “yes” to second jobs (yes, plural), to unpaid volunteer positions, to starting a YouTube channel, to making new friends, and to working more on myself. Somehow, I managed to do all these things (with wildly varying degrees of success and time devotion). My schedule, and my life, was filled to capacity. I was enjoying what I was doing, but I was also stressed, impoverished, not seeing my significant other enough, and feeling physically, emotionally, and intellectually drained. In my rush from one job to another I didn’t have time to cook myself a healthful meal, let alone workout. I had to accept that I couldn’t “have it all.” But, I could still be healthy, and happy, and feel good about myself and my body.
I decided to begin a new diet, and a “30 day challenge” workout program. I knew I had let myself get out of shape, and that beginning any workout program was going to be tough. I devised a challenge that I thought was both, well….challenging, but also simple enough that I could squeeze it into my busy schedule. But, my schedule was still packed to capacity. I contemplated waking up an hour earlier every day, but I’m not a morning person and my sleep is precious to me. The only time I really felt like I had down time was on my breaks at work, but I only had a half hour lunch break and that’s not enough time to go the gym.
However, any time is enough time to do something for yourself. That same day (don’t talk about it, do it!) I went and found a little secluded room in my office building and I spent my lunch break sweating. I felt weird and out of place at first, but I knew that I couldn’t let anything get in the way of my success. The workout itself took me about 20 minutes, and then I hurriedly threw my lunch in the microwave and took it back to my desk (after that I started eating on my 15 minute break instead).
Those first few days were rough. I barely made it through the workout, and my legs nearly gave out just walking back to my desk. I thought maybe I was pushing myself a little too hard, and should do something easier at first. But I knew if I had been capable of doing it on day 1 (albeit poorly) that I possessed the ability to continue doing it – so I did. After the first few days, I began to get high fives from my coworkers when I came back to my desk all sweaty and short of breath. After a week, it had already started to get easier. By the time I was halfway through the challenge (only 2 weeks) I was already noticing that I would need to increase the difficulty pretty soon. Now everyone in my office knows me as the girl that randomly does lunges down the hallway. That’s a ‘WIN’ in my book.
Taking time – making time – for myself has been incredibly rewarding. My overall health has improved. I feel better about myself, and my abilities – both physical and otherwise. I know that taking care of myself is important to me, and sometimes I need a reminder to focus on my own needs. I’m still incredibly busy. And, sometimes, I’m still going insane from being so stressed out. But, I have carved out a small portion of my day to focus on my own needs. In fact, having a steady workout routine has helped me deal with my stress by giving me an outlet, as well as time to clear my mind of everything else that’s weighing on me.
Make time for yourself. Be tough on yourself. Kick your own ass, but listen to your needs as well. If you keep the promise to care for yourself, I guarantee that you will not regret it.
Here is the workout that I began my first 30 day challenge with. It’s tough, but it will give you a great full body workout. And it’s easy enough to do anywhere in about 20 minutes. Happy sweating!