Friday, November 6, 2009
(Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here for those who are catching up.)
So I now have multiple weapons in my arsenal to fight flab and poor health. Running, walking, swimming, dancing, yoga, and weightlifting can be mixed together to keep me active enough to maintain my weight, my health, my energy, and my mood. That's the funny thing about exercise--I started doing it to lose weight for my general health and not for vanity, but the benefits have gone much deeper. I learned firsthand about the antidepressant benefits of exercise when I sprained my ankle and was in a foul mood for a couple of months without those endorphins careening through my bloodstream on a regular basis. I've noticed that when I really don't get any exercise at all for more than a couple of days, I get cranky and listless. I have actually hankered for a salad and a walk in the past couple of years, hankered for them in the way that most people hanker for a glass of wine and some chocolate cake. Hanker.
What is most elusive for me is one of the essential components of the health equation, a factor that I referred to in my first post on this topic: rest. I'm really bad at resting, even when I know I really need to do so. Guy used to heckle me about this--I'd complain that my joints ached and my muscles felt tweaked, and he'd say with tongue planted in cheek, "Well, just make sure that you run four miles tomorrow morning--you just know that'll help you." "Ha ha, asshole," I'd reply, but he was right. I needed to rest, and yet I wouldn't. Hell, when I'm sitting around the house, I can't rest. When I decide to sit down and read a book or magazine, I sit down five or six times before I really sit down to read--I have to get up and toss out some papers, then I sit down and get up to shut off some lights and save energy, then I sit down and get up to give the cats a couple treats, then I sit down and get up to scoop the catbox...you get the picture. A great deal of my identity and habits is tied up in how productive I am, so just sitting down to enjoy a magazine goes against everything I've internalized in life. It's hard to go against that.
I've been extremely run down this week, which appears to have been caused by a combination of a late night out Tuesday night (I saw Wicked!!1!!) and one drink too many (which would be two, for those keeping score at home) as well as monthly hormone fluctuations. However, I have to wonder if maybe it's just time for a rest week. The time change and the change of season usually means we're supposed to take some time for reflection and slow down along with the earth, but you wouldn't know it from the whirling dervish that I am. I resist the idea of taking a break, which probably means that I need it. I once fretted to a friend of mine that I always feared taking a break, and his response was to chuckle and say, "Pixie, you're so motivated that you can never be at rest, so don't worry--if you take a break, your mind will eventually propel you back into motion again."