So, um, I kinda can’t believe it’s September.
And I know this happens every single year – all of a sudden, Fall is here and we’re all going, “But it’s too soon for pumpkin spice! Why is everyone talking about Christmas!?!”
OK, first of all, pumpkin spice is delicious. FIGHT ME. And Christmas is wonderful. FIGHT ME AGAIN.
I think, though, that this year feels a little even more blurry. Summer was weird and fast and didn’t feel totally satisfying. Lots of change. Transition, too. I know I’ve felt some resistance to routine, while at the same time craving it. I’ve heard the same thing from clients.
Not surprisingly, one of the areas where that struggle is showing up has been in fitness and movement.
Well, maybe that is surprising for you to read, but I have definitely not been consistently doing workouts. I’ve been moving somewhat regularly, certainly, paying attention. My morning walks and weekend hikes are pretty consistent. A sporadic, quick Peloton yoga or spin class here or there. But more structured exercise? As in any kind of program or training schedule? Any kind of routine even close to what it used to be? Big nope.
You might say I took two weeks off.
Yes, you might say that. You might use that language: off, with the perpetual implication that we’re supposed to be on. I might have even used that language myself, and then realized exactly how problematic it really was to do so. Because here’s what actually happened in that two weeks…
I nursed a massive vulnerability hangover from the Fitness Unraveled launch. I put so much energy and heart out there, got super frustrated by how it landed (or didn’t – thanks, algorithm), made up my mind I did a horrible job and was a failure, and totally struggled to see that, in fact, I had I absolutely created the aligned success I wanted for the group and the program.
I had a bunch of awesome meetings with both new and established relationships, which took up a good chunk of the time I would normally use for regular work tasks. That left me feeling scattered, like I wasn’t accomplishing anything, when in reality, it was an excellent use of my time because I was working on creating the aligned community I want.
I had two really great weeks with my partner. We had a date night at home and cooked a whole meal together, including actual beef wellington! We had a staycation up the road consisting of lots of snuggling in a big hotel bed while watching an excellent variety of movies (Harry Potter, Van Helsing, and Uncle Buck, to name a few. We have great taste.) and also finding a new favorite restaurant. We had some stress, some conflict, some more vulnerability, and some awesome conversation about it all. We went camping and found a total hidden gem of a hiking trail. Relationships can be tough and wonderful at the exact same time, and I know for sure we’re in a place and time of continually creating the aligned connection we want to have together, forever.
I kiiiiinda went through a mild existential crisis about identity and self-worth and my purpose and future vision. Every other day, I had a different experience or conversation that swayed me toward feeling either completely useless or inherently powerful. But stuff always comes around when and how you need it, and I found and utilized resources and support systems to gain more clarity and understand I’m 100% on the path toward creating the aligned future self and life I want and believe in.
And I’m not even giving you the details of how much logistical shit I took care of in the last few weeks, including the hour spent on the phone with the Missouri DMV finding out that apparently I haven’t had a valid drivers license FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS WTFFFFF.
So, like, strength training four days a week? God, I don’t care.
I mean, of course I care about taking care of myself physically. But what that means and how I do it has changed so much in the past several years, it’s just not applicable anymore to talk about it in the sense of being an on/off switch. Of being right/wrong. Of being good/bad.
Because of all the work I’ve done and shifts I’ve made in the last few years, it really only took me a minute to check in with myself, gain some awareness, and change my thoughts about this time “off” from working out. Because it’s not off time. It’s just time.
And I want you to know that too: It’s always just time. It’s always ongoing. There is no on/off except the day we’re born and the day we die.
And that’s a big part of the problem with talking about fitness in the context of on and off, all or nothing. Our lives are so damn fluid and ever-changing, how could we ever possibly operate in such an absolute way and achieve any level of comfort or satisfaction or acceptance with ourselves?
Well, we won’t, if we continue to buy into that narrative written by the fitness and diet industry and speak its language. So it’s important to see that for what it is, to understand this kind of terminology is meant to condition us to feel a certain way and lead us to taking a certain action. Usually that looks something like feel bad/guilty/wrong for being off = buy program/go on diet/join gym to get back on. Simplistic example, but you get the point: this creates a cycle, and it’s not a cycle that benefits us in the least.
So, while me-five-years-ago may have gotten all down about “missing” two weeks of workouts, been really hard on myself for being so “bad,” and pledged to be “good” and get back “on” again, me today knows that all those things are rigid ideas and judgments with no basis in my actual preferences, beliefs, or life. Me today knows that change is constant, in life and in body, and acceptance and getting comfortable with that not being wrong or bad is what keeps enjoyment and contentment consistent.
Read it again: Change is constant, in life and body. Acceptance and getting comfortable with that not being wrong or bad is what keeps enjoyment and contentment consistent.
Sometimes that means getting more aggressive about strength training for a couple months. Sometimes it’s playing with a new program. Sometimes it means trying something new or different every single day with no real plan. Sometimes it means nothing but walking for a while. Sometimes, it means nothing at all.
We can hold onto ideas that routines and structure and requirements and rules will be the things to make us feel better. Or we can explore the idea that even routines and structure need to change in order to meet the requirements of our lives and our happiness.
And also, rules for bodies are BS.
Bottom line here is that I didn’t take two weeks off. All I did was live my life. I took care of myself, I met my needs, I did all kinds of things that align with what I want. I don’t need to do a big thing and make a big plan to get back on track, whatever that’s supposed to mean. I’m going to continue living my life. That’s it. That’s all.
That’s the cycle: live your life.
So if you’ve been feeling like that and telling yourself the same things, using that on/off language too? Putting a bunch of pressure on yourself and negative self-talking yourself into the ground? The same applies: all you’ve been doing is living your life and taking care of your priority needs, which are often changing rapidly and drastically these days. Work toward acceptance and comfort around that. And remember most of all, there really never was any time off, so there’s no need to get back on.
Then, choose your language and your actions. Change the cycle. Live your life.
If you need a little support in working toward that acceptance and comfort, or in exploring what alignment looks like for you, email me or schedule a call below to talk about coaching. And if you want more consistent reminders of how you can change the cycle, sign up for weekly emails here.