I got an email today from a woman coming to my Women’s Wellness Group. It’s a few days before the actual class, so she said in her email to me ,“I’m going to do whatever it takes to get myself to class!” I thought it had a sense of “fight” in it; almost a sense of protectiveness to it with regard to her desire to protect her wellness time.
It IS kind of a fight we’re fighting, that is, the fight for our wellness. I can remember back many years ago when I was just starting out practicing yoga. I would practice on Saturday mornings at 9 and the class was so popular, I got there 45 minutes before. I brought a book, sat and read before class, took class and then by the time I got home, 3 hours had passed. I had a job that was adequate but hardly stimulating, the economy was humming along, I had little responsibility other than figuring out when my next yoga class would be and how to balance a few work tasks and my wellness activities. I ran a lot, did a number of road races each month and enjoyed my free time. This was about 10 years ago. I was, of course, 10 years younger.
Fast-forward to now and things couldn’t be more different. I’m working for myself, the economy is starting to re-group after the struggles of the past two years and many of the people I come across are trying to figure out how to get enough sleep, let alone figure out when their next yoga class or road race will be crammed into their schedule. I’m definitely not saying this is everyone’s experience, but it’s part of what I run across in many of the people I meet.
One of my strongest passions is to work with people to figure out how they’re going to put their health first. What’s the most important thing to you? If it’s not your health, it’s probably a close second. I mean, without your health, it’s hard to be there for your family, your job, your friends, and the things you love to do. But our health usually takes a back seat to everything else. The job’s more important and you need the job to pay the bills; the kids need care and attention; the relationship needs to be nurtured; the house needs to be cleaned. We’re looking at what’s right in front of us and we don’t see a way that we can fit wellness into our life.
I believe we need to fight for our wellness. Remember that Beastie Boys song, “You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party?” Well, I feel like we have to fight for our right to take care of ourselves. Again, this may not be everyone’s experience, so maybe I’m not writing to you. But if you’re struggling with trying to figure out how to fit wellness into your day and you feel as if things around you are encroaching on your right to put yourself first, fight for it! Take a stand, look for ways to make it happen. Say “no” when you can, go to bed early so you can get up an hour early and make time for a wellness activity. Partner with a friend and find a way to double up on childcare support so you both can work out together. Make a deal with your spouse that if he or she watches the kids while you work out, you’ll return the favor. Book meetings early and leave work on time. Insist on resisting taking work home. Spend time doing what you love and learn to be comfortable with emails piling up in your work in-box so you can take time to do something healthy. We can’t all get it done; it’s impossible. Once we accept that, we can start to make choices about where to spend our time. It IS our choice. When we give that choice to someone else, we’re doing it, knowingly or not, but we are giving it away. Don’t do it! Fight for your wellness!