I can hardly believe that this month marks the half-way point of the Resolve to Love Challenge. There’s still so much to do and say, and sadly, I had no time to post last month! I hope you all did well with your mental workout. Did you find it challenging? Did you notice yourself slipping into self-criticism? Did you let yourself give up too often? And what about April’s challenge? Have you been working on radical self-acceptance?
These are two assignments that I hope you will continue to work on throughout the challenge. Our mental and emotional health are just as important as our physical health. I don’t believe you can truly have one without the others. So keep up the good work there!
And now, since summer is finally here, it’s time to go out and have some fun. Your assignment this month is to simply make FUN movement a part of your daily routine. I’m not talking about carving out time to do yoga or go to the gym (though that’s great if you do, of course!). I think many people look on trips to the gym with dread and do it simply out of a fear of gaining weight or because it is an act of discipline that makes us feel we are doing something good for ourselves. And while it IS good for our bodies, let’s face it – forcing yourself into a routine that you dread is not a sustainable action. And if you hate the stairmaster (or whatever), why force yourself to do it when there are so many other things you can do that you might [gasp] LOVE?
In this culture, it seems we look on physical activity as something separate from our everyday lives. The example of the gym comes to mind – that hour before or after work that we put in, whether we enjoy it or not, while the rest of our lives is spent largely in the sitting position. Sitting at our desks. Sitting in the car. Sitting on the couch. Everything in our culture seems to support this notion that movement isn’t meant to be part of our everyday activities. Our cars, our clothing (high heels, panty hose, silk blouses that don’t mix well with sweat, pencil skirts), our schedules.
But here’s the thing: Movement is not meant to be compartmentalized. It is not meant to be assigned to an hour’s block in our daily schedule. We have bodies and they should be moving! And what’s more, that movement should mostly be fun.
Remember when you were a child and you ran, walked, skated, scootered, boarded or bicycled not just to get from Point A to Point B, but as a form of recreation all by itself?? Remember when you couldn’t WAIT to get home from school so you could get out of that desk and just play? Well, it’s time to be a kid again. Get off the computer and go outside and PLAY.
The first thing you need to do is to get on Craigslist and buy whatever you can afford in human-powered transportation – either something you loved as a child or something you’ve wanted to try as an adult. A skateboard, long board, skates, roller blades, bicycle, adult tricycle, scooter, etc. Get on and get rolling! Try riding around your neighborhood, at first, then try longer journeys. Maybe you can start scootering or biking to your friends’ houses or to get-togethers at the coffee shop. Maybe you want to try skateboarding to work, if it’s not too far. Work these activities into your life, into your routine – why not?! (And if you have kids, all the better! Join them!)
The second assignment is somewhat simpler. Take more walks. But there’s a catch: These are not workout walks. You are not allowed to listen to your workout playlist on your iPod while taking these walks, or to wear your fancy jogging tights. Nope. Your walks are pleasure walks. If you take your iPod, you must listen to either relaxing music or audio books. It’s fine to wear your workout shoes if you walk in a rocky area like I do, but all the better to go to a park and take your shoes off so you can feel the grass under your feet. Look at every tree and flower and weed you pass. Take note of the sky. Listen to the wind and the bees. Take your dog and play fetch or take your kids and show them the caterpillars on the trees and the way the clouds move. This is not a workout. You are having fun. You are moving. You are observing. You are alive. Simple as that.
Your third assignment is to move more at home. I see a definite pattern in my life to gravitate toward the computer, toward wasting time with video games and streaming videos, toward sedentary activities. But there are a million things to do at home that you might love – and they all require movement. Gardening is a number-one sweat-inducer for me! And I absolutely love it. There’s something so satisfying about growing your own food. And what a great gift to share with your kids – movement, connection to the land, good nutrition. What could be better? And how about all those things on your to-do list? Wash the car. Clean out the cupboards. Organize the garage. Get some people involved and get moving. Make it fun. And oh yeah, you’re getting healthier as you move those boxes and stretch to dust the shelves and squat to clean the stain on the carpet. Sex works in the “fun movement” category, too, and *might* be more enjoyable than organizing the garage.
Finally, if you are up for a final challenge in June, try something you haven’t tried before. Go horseback riding. Take a martial arts or dance class. Try a 2-day hiking/camping trip or a 30 mile bicycle ride (believe me, it’s easier than it sounds). Stretch yourself not in an effort to lose weight, but in a spirit of adventure and childlike curiosity.
If you are stumped on what to do, please take a moment to think about your favorite activities as a child, or something you dreamed of doing but never did (tap dancing? fencing? ice skating?). That’s it! Follow that lead!
I would absolutely LOVE to hear about your adventures. Please leave me comments about what you decide to do, or post it on my Facebook page. Believe me, you will have fun with this one!