No, wait, come back. I didn’t mean you have to, you know, jog… or anything. I promise. But if we’re going to be honest about self care, we do have to talk about exercise.
Seeing as we’ve hit February, it’s probably safe to say that there are fewer people at the gyms than there were a month ago. If you’re still going, or never stopped, kudos to you. You probably don’t need self-care advice.
Everyone else though, those of you who are considering self care to be curling up on the couch with some TV shows or video games – and there’s nothing wrong with that, in moderation – should know that it’s still important to get some semblance of exercise. Outdoors is best, because there’s also fresh air and sunshine, but if it’s just too cold, you can still exercise at home. And exercise, despite what they tell you at the gym, is anything that gets you up and moving. Housework like vacuuming, for instance; scrubbing floors, painting. If your self care goals included getting some stuff done around the house or generally keeping a regular housework schedule, you’re already halfway there. And don’t forget the workout you get from shoveling snow.
Given that self care varies for all of us depending on our own abilities, skills and general health, let’s not feel bad (or make others feel bad) just because we’re not training for a marathon. My daily exercise routine includes walking the dog at least twice a day (this is my cardio workout – corgis make up for their short legs by walking extra fast so we do a couple of miles a day at a pretty good clip), and around an hour a day (usually 3 minutes of exercise at half hour intervals) of a combo of stretching/yoga/tai chi specific to certain areas where I have chronic injuries. I also dance, gently, for 3 minute intervals, a few times a day, to keep muscles and nerves loose and warm and to promote healing to my injuries.
I don’t try and do more than I can handle, and I try to be proud of myself for the effort expended instead of down on myself for not doing enough.
At the very least, try getting up every half hour and stretching, dancing or just walking around the house for a few minutes and see if it improves your general sense of well-being.