Prioritize exercise, prioritize yourself

For the past couple of weeks–months?–I’ve batted at random crap flying at me. Appointments, project deadlines for personal and work-related projects, general stress bombs that have exploded (not to mention the latent stress bombs that could explode at any freaking moment). I’m all for healthy tension but there’s been a little too much of it lately in my life to the point where it’s been unhealthy.

Biggest thing? I fell out of my regular exercise routine. With a hyperactive dog–8 years old and still batty–I get him out for a 30-ish-minute walk every day, but for the past year and a half, I’ve also done a pretty good job of going to the gym to do weight and cardio training. Days when I’m not at the gym are usually when I’m doing something relatively athletic–hiking, running, skiing toward the lodge for another beer–with the occasional rest day thrown in the mix.

I do this for a few reasons:

  1. Even though I’m 30, I’m confident that there would be health ailments developing if my ass didn’t exercise regularly.
  2. There are health issues in my family that would seriously form if I don’t give a shit now about my health.
  3. The older I get, the more aware I am of how I am an anxiety monster–lifting heavy things and burning calories helps me to dispel the tension and anxiety that left untouched will ping-pong through my head at an exponential pace.

So while I was completely wound up, here’s a list of what I did instead of exercise:

  • Drank too much wine
  • Stress-snacked my way through quite a lot of health crap that’s really only healthy in standard serving sizes
  • Stayed up too late reading so that I could treat myself with “me time” that left me even more exhausted
  • Sobbed

Try listing out what you’ve done to relax during a busy time in your life. Good chance you’ll also come up with a bunch of unhealthy practices.

I know better. I’ve known better for a long time. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Thinking in Stephen Covey terms, exercise falls into the Not Urgent/Important quadrant detailed in Habit 3–emergencies and late-breaking deadlines take precedent, but putting off those important, mind-healing activities for too long won’t do you any good.

And that’s what I had to be reminded of this winter. I’m not accomplishing anything more by skipping out on any sort of workout routine, and I feel worse for it. Technically, it’s spring (not based on the outside temperature–this statement is based on the fact that there are weeds growing in my yard), so it’s a perfect time to recommit. To run and hike when the sun is shining. To go to the gym when the weather is rotten. To eat better. To drink only decent wine on occasion, not shitty wine on the reg. To prioritize what’s important to me, because not everything is urgent.

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