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Have you ever said something to a friend or even your child and immediately it hits you how much you needed to hear those same words? I’m so guilty of this. It’s almost always when I’m hollering at the kids to use a “nice indoor voice.” Whoops.
A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on the importance of self-care. After I posted it I felt great because focusing on activities and little moments that “fill my cup” is really something I believe in and strive to do. But… I’m also totally guilty of filling my cup with the easy, almost cheating, cup fillers and not finding those things that will bring lasting change.
While I was on vacation last week I got out of the habit of reading my devotional in the morning. I wasn’t at home so my normal routine was off and before I knew it I had missed several mornings in a row. I could feel the difference! Now that I’m back home I made that priority number one for my mornings and it feels significantly better to be starting the day on the right foot.
The other cup filler that I’ve been ignoring or, at the very least, inconsistently completing, is exercise. I really do love to exercise. I have days when I drag my feet and choose a less than challenging video – is it really a helpful workout when it only takes me 5 minutes and I’m breathing the same when I’m done? – but most days the feeling of sweat dripping down my face and muscles that are begging to quit makes me excited because it means my body is being challenged and I’m getting stronger!
But so many other tasks seem to come first. Writing, kids, dishes, laundry, crafts, whatever. I’d workout one day and then find excuses for the next ten! I was not given this body to let it fall by the wayside. My body is a temple, created by God, and I should treat it as such. While I may love stuffing my face with all the sweets and lounging on the couch that isn’t the best way to honor this vessel I’ve been given. It isn’t what God put me on this earth for.
But what am I here for and what does that have to do with exercise? Remember the book I reviewed ages ago, Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall? She has a chapter on self-care and some of her points smack me in the face. She points out a verse in Proverbs 31:
I’ve got so many tasks, guys! Carrying two little guys through a store or even up the stairs? Yup, need arm strength for that. Playing with the kids outside at a park? I need some decent endurance to keep up! Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc., all that takes physical abilities that are so much easier when I’m not worn out from ignoring my body’s needs. Now obviously dirty diapers and making dinner isn’t all God has put me on this planet to do but it’s a big part of my job right now and if taking care of my body helps me accomplish those tasks? Awesome.
So here it is, two weeks after writing that post about self-care and I’ve taken my own advice. I thought about what really fills my cup, what makes me feel refreshed and energized, and realized I was really missing having a regular workout routine. A set time of day plus a planned workout so I could get it done and feel good. I shifted some tasks in my day around to make sure I had free time in my afternoons when all the kids are having quiet time or taking naps and pulled out my P90X set. I printed out the calendar so I know exactly what workout(s) to do each day plus the worksheets so I can track my reps and weights and see how I’m progressing. I’m determined to do this right!
I started on Monday and I can already feel the difference. And I’m not just talking physically! Yes, my arms are sore and I can feel the muscles screaming every time I lift them up but it’s because I’m using them! I already know I’m going to be sore walking tomorrow because Tuesday was plyometrics day and it was 45 minutes of jumping and squatting. But I feel strong. And I feel accomplished. I feel like I can conquer nearly anything because I survived that workout.
I got through to bedtime when the kids were whining about everything and one was really struggling with an aggressive attitude. My cup was full so I was able to pour into the upset kids without the risk of losing my cool. Amazing how that works! I guess I need to take my own advice more often.
I’m posting on Instagram each day (or at least trying to) following my workouts. I wanted some type of accountability to make myself stick with it and I figured that was the best way. If you want to follow along you can find me @myjoyinchaos. I’m two days down, only 88 more to go! And I’d love to cheer you on in any goals you’ve set so let me know what they are!
I’m linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul.
Do you ever find yourself needing to take your own advice? What self-care practices are you doing right now? What goals are you working towards?