Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happiness tip - Move!

Have you thought of having 'Happy hour' at home? Not the Friday afternoon one, guzzling cheap wine and warm beer (no offence meant to my British readers), but something a lot more personalised.

I'm referring more to doing something for yourself, something that makes you feel special and which supports your values. It doesn't have to be a major change to your routine or even take a whole hour.

I've been pulled up short a couple of times recently by friends who have ever so tactfully pointed out that I'm not practicing what I preach.

One of the things I value is feeling healthy, but I wasn't allowing any time for exercise. Not good Sue.

Movement other than from desk to car and back again had gone by the board. I'm not keen on sport and don't like gyms - but I knew I had to do something, or my poor little body was going to seize up or atrophy or something horrible. I know exercise is good for my brain, I know it's good for my body, I know I feel better when I move - but I hadn't made it a priority in my daily schedule.

If I truly value feeling healthy I need to allow that value space to flourish. It simply can't happen if I crowd the day with other stuff (including work).  But how to squeeze it in to an already full day? Happy hour for the body? It's a good ideal and might work for some, but nope, that's not going to happen for me, not every day - that would end in frustration, failure and feeling defeated.

But what I can do is start where I am, and take small, achievable steps, non threatening tiny steps, in the general direction of my value.

What I've done is set my phone alarm for twice a day to remind me to move. The alarm is a chirpily sweet bingly beep, it's lighthearted and cheerful to remind me that exercise is possible and achievable NOW! 2 or 3 minutes doesn't sound much, but it's in the direction of a core value and that's good, right? Happy minutes for my body, brain and spirit!

I've been moving more (could this be called exercise?) for a couple of months now and it's not scary or intimidating. I can do 2 or even 3 minutes (stop laughing!) and sometimes more. I have a small wooden box, just the right height to step up and down, up and down - 20 reps, twice a day, and then some twisty things to help my middle become more mobile. I know I need to keep it up for a bit longer for it to become a habit, but it's very much part of my routine, equal to brushing my teeth after meals - not a chore, not disliked, just there to be done.

The benefits so far:
a) I haven't noticed any particular loss of time from other things (like work).
b) I feel generally better physically and more energised and alive after even this small amount of movement.
c) I feel good about myself - I'm supporting a core value and feel good at achieving my simple goals.
d) I was able to walk and walk and walk in China, up steepish inclines, along rough tracks, for kilometres around Shanghai with no stiffness at all. Now, that was a real benefit and far better than any commercial 'Happy hour'. I could so easily have said: "Oh, 2 minutes is nothing, it's not worth doing". It was a direct, tangible benefit ... yippee!!

Have you been ignoring any core values that would enjoy being nurtured for a few minutes each day?
Could you spend time reflecting on your thoughts and feelings, relaxing or being mindful? 
How will you benefit?

Ping An - looking up - lots of steps! The terraces contained rice
and a wide variety of vegetables.
Ping An. Is it possible there were less
downward steps? We seemed to get back very quickly.

More China reflections over at Jumping aground.


Anonymous said...

Right you are. I never exercise and I could do with a dose of mindfulness (especially before I open my mouth). I will see what I can do.

Manzanita said...

Sue, Timely post for me. This summer I've been absolutely forcing myself to walk. I've posted about it often enough, perhaps you've seen one. This month of Sept I've made myself walk 5 miles every day. Some days I'd do anything to get out of it, but it's a little vow to myself. Now I'm worried about how I can walk the dog this winter.... it's always slippery. I can go to a gym but she can't. I made walking my #1 priority and a lot of things go by the wayside because of it.
Love those pictures. Gee, that must have been a great trip.

sue said...

Delores, ah yes, I know that one too! Definitely room for improvement. Let me know how you go.

Manzanita, 5 miles a day!! That's impressive, and to still be doing all you do is incredible. When do you sleep? Walking is something I know is good for me ... but .... on a daily basis it doesn't seem to happen which is why I decided to do small and achievable.

Winter walking must be nigh on impossible in your climate - how do you manage? How do pets manage? It's something I've never really thought about very much.

Anonymous said...

I exercise often. Walk, clean the house, a little P90X. I'm not in the best shape, but pretty darn good. Take time now to get into shape, or time will be taken from you.

Cool pics of Asia. Thanks for posting them.

sue said...

Stephen, true words, it's vital to keep the mind and body active, but so easy to ignore. I know what cleaning the house is, (as a theoretical concept) but am off to Mr. Google to find out what P90X is.

Talli Roland said...

Er... cheap wine and warm beer? Oh my, what a high opinion of British pubs you have, lol! :) :)

I think the idea of a happy hour is fantastic. In fact, I might just adopt that!