Because we were due a group hug. And Zhiro is due a lot of apologies.
I’ve taken up swimming. In my annual health screening results it showed I was pre-diabetic. I already eat fairly healthy and I love to cook, so I knew that diet was not something I was likely to change. But exercise? Plenty of room for improvement there. As in, I don’t really…do any at all. Drawing and writing don’t exactly get one up and out of the chair.
Part of it is that most forms of exercise hit my anxiety buttons pretty hard. Walking and running make me feel very exposed. I feel exceptionally unsafe walking anywhere on my own, something made worse by several bad experiences with people being freaky creepers on the road. Gyms, on the other hand, make me paranoid in a different way. I start to feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me. I tend to over-extend myself, and I often make myself sick or injure myself trying to somehow defy all the judgements I’m assuming people are making.
And, most importantly, I just don’t ENJOY running or lifting weights. I find it tedious and boring, and I’ve never gotten the endorphin rush people insist happens with exercise. I did track and basketball and other sports in junior high and they never did anything for me. I didn’t enjoy the game or the activity.
I do, however, have fond memories of swimming. Swimming feels like being in one’s own little world. It’s easier for me to remember that I’m not being observed and judged because every swimmer is in their own lane, looking forward in the direction they’re going. The strokes also force me to focus on my breathing, on my heartbeat, on using my limbs equally. (My left side is weak and I keep drifting on backstrokes.) I still get a lot of those anxiety feelings, but the environment is safe enough that I can manage them. I actually think it’s really good for me psychologically, as well as physically, to be visiting the pool. Beyond a sort of exposure therapy aspect, it’s also a reminder that I’m worth taking care of. That my body is important to me and it’s okay to take some time regularly to dedicate 100% of my attention to investing in its health.
Swimming is a way to remind myself that I can be just as much a priority as my work.
How do you make yourself a priority in your weekly routine?