Last week I wrote this post proposing that women shift their thinking around Mom’s Nights Out.
Meeting regularly with women to talk and vent and just hang out without kids around is one form of self-care.
I challenged women to plan a weekly meeting with other women that involved another form of self-care.
Today I revived a running/walking group I had organized four of five years ago.
I didn’t do a very good job about spreading the word about it. Beside the blog post I wrote last week, I did nothing to promote it.
This morning I threw out a last minute reminder around 7 a.m.
When I pulled into the parking lot, there were five women waiting there. And there was one more on the way.
There were seven of us altogether!
One of the moms who was there has been walking every Sunday with two other moms. So really there were nine of us. But those other moms didn’t come because of my blog post.
Anyway, I was super happy to see six people there.
It was a great showing for the first meet-up with very little “advertising” about it.
The greenway here in town is three miles long when you go from one end to the other and back, so we walked three miles.
We kind of just naturally separated into three groups and all three groups walked at slightly different speeds. Not on purpose. It just sort of worked out that way.
My cousin was one of the women to show up this morning. She was part of the original group I started a few years ago.
She lives in the same town as me, but we don’t see each other often. We had a chance to catch up. It was really nice to talk to her.
I also got to know two women I didn’t know at all before. One I’ve seen in passing at the kids’ schools, but I’ve never really spoken to her for any length of time other than smiling and saying hello. The other mom I had never met before.
I made two new friends today. 🙂
My cousin and my two new friends were in the fastest walking group. We weren’t trying to walk faster than anyone else. It wasn’t like we said, Okay, let’s split into a slow, medium and fast group.
That just happened organically.
So three things of significance happened today.
The first has to do with my cousin.
As we were walking, my cousin said to me, “The last time we walked together, I would have been in the group back there. But now I’m in the front and I’m holding a conversation and I feel great!”
My cousin has been working on her health and fitness for years. It has been a slow and gradual process for her. She has come so far, and she is in the best shape she has probably ever been in since having kids.
Exercise has become a habit for her.
By the way, I didn’t start out with the intention of writing about my cousin in this post, but she is a testament to what happens when you incorporate exercise into your life and really start taking care of yourself on a daily basis.
So let me back track a tiny bit.
About nine months ago, my cousin really committed to taking care of herself.
My cousin’s husband is a great guy. He was also a really heavy smoker who did not take care of himself.
There are many women who would use this as an excuse to not take care of themselves, either.
Who would say something like My husband isn’t on board, and until he is, I can’t start taking care of myself.
A couple months ago, my cousin commented on something I put on Facebook.
She said, I finally get what you mean about exercise.
She was going to the Y every day, and she was not only exercising daily, but she was taking different types of classes and trying new things.
And let me point out that my cousin was not a major athlete in high school or college. She wasn’t getting back on the horse.
She was never really into exercise, and over the course of the last twenty years she had put on a lot of weight.
So she was moving way out of her comfort zone in multiple ways on a daily basis.
A couple months ago I saw my cousin and her husband at a school function, I think.
I think I was letting my cousin know I was super impressed by her and encouraging her to keep it up with the exercise and her husband jokingly said to me, “Yeah, now she’s a part of that cult. That YMCA-going-to-the-gym cult. I’m never going to be a part of that.”
We laughed, and I didn’t see my cousin again until today.
And you know what she told me?
HER HUSBAND QUIT SMOKING A MONTH AGO.
AND HE JOINED THE Y!!!
Ha!!! He’s in the “cult”!!!
I was so happy to hear this.
And this is a testament to how, when you start taking care of yourself regardless of what the people around you are doing, it’s contagious.
You make a difference without even trying.
You set and example and you inspire other people to change.
Here is the second significant thing.
A woman I know who I’m friendly with but not super close friends with showed up today. I had sent out this reminder on my Facebook page and on the NYAM Facebook page:
REMINDER FOR ANYONE WHO IS LOCAL!!!!!I'm reviving the running/walking group I started a few years ago. I'll be at the…
She said she saw the post, read the “this is your sign” sentence, and she threw on her sneakers and came to meet us.
And you know what she said when we were all done?
That was like therapy.
This is one of the best things about exercise, especially when you do it with a friend!!!!
Then there is the third significant thing that happened.
Another good friend of mine came to walk. I was talking to her afterward.
She was an athlete in high school and she used to be in pretty good shape and she has had a rough couple years and has put on weight and is not in the shape she used to be in and she was beating herself up about it.
She was out of control with the negative self-talk. So hard on herself!
She told me how about a week ago she decided she was going to do an online workout at home and it was so hard she couldn’t do it, she only lasted a few minutes and she was physically shot for the rest of the day.
I told her she had to ease up on herself.
I told her she couldn’t compare the current version of herself to the high school version of herself.
And I told her she needed to start off much smaller. She needed to meet herself where she is and start from there.
This is one of the biggest shifts the women I work with need to make. They think they need to start off where they left off in high school or twenty or fifty pounds ago.
They think they need to start with 30 or 45 or 60 minutes of exercise on day 1.
You don’t have to start on level 10. You do not have to workout for an hour from the beginning.
It’s unmanageable and unsustainable. It’s too hard and it’s defeating.
So you quit before you even have a chance to build any momentum.
Instead, you start at whatever your current level is (and if it’s zero, then start from zero) and when you stay consistent one minute at a time, you will know when you are able to level up.
This morning was a success on so many levels.
Three things to remember when you want to add exercise into your daily self-care routine?
First, don’t wait until your spouse and family members are on the same page as you to start.
Second, shift your mindset — exercise is not a tool used solely for weight loss.
Third, meet yourself where you are and start off very small with something you can commit to doing every day. If you can’t commit to doing it every day, then it’s too big.
Now get going!