I think about fitness and staying healthy every day, on a personal level.
But every winter, I start thinking about health in general, because everyone around us seems to be catching “something”.
In the news we see headlines to the effect of:
“The flu this year is the worst in the world!”
“Xxx number of people have died from the flu!”
“Get a flu Shot!!!”
And then notices come around at school about what horrible virus is coming around in our area, and when to keep your kid home from school.
This makes me think a ton, not only about my health, but the health of my family. And even about people in the community.
Have you noticed that some people, and their families do always seem to be sick, repeatedly?
You just wonder why that is.
Are they just unlucky?
Do they work in offices with sick people everywhere?
Multiple kids in school or daycare?
There are lots of reasons, I’m sure.
But I think there’s something else to it.
Who has concerns about diet, and what kinds of food they eat, and feed their family?
Who do you see outside, exercising, keeping active?
Who looks run down all the time?
Who is always “too busy”?
Who has hobbies, aside from their kids, who doesn’t?
I first thought about this problem a year ago, and considered writing about it, but it has taken me this long to start (see, my health is good, but organization and time-management? not so good…).
There are many people who are reluctant to make themselves a priority. Reluctant to take the steps needed to make sure they have what they need to be strong and healthy, and happy. And this can negatively impact the whole family.
The focus is all about work.
Or the house.
I’m not going to search the web for every article that supports my theory, but I’m sure this constant state of busy-ness, tiredness, and numbness we have about satisfying our own needs eventually impacts our ability to ward off whatever terrible virus or bug is making the rounds.
I used to be just like this, you know, the one who put myself at Priority Zero.
When I was doing the corporate/mom juggle, and especially that first summer after I dropped my corporate job. I was stuck with this 3 1/2 year old all day every day and I just lost all confidence in what I was doing. My career? I was great at that, I had all the confidence in the world. I could talk anyone into doing anything.
But this full-time mom thing? That’s hard.
I thought I was eating well, and getting activity. I was chasing after my kid all day, that should be enough, right?
But for some reason I was starting to feel older.
I was feeling run down.
My back started to bother me.
I did not like it at all, and at one point realized I had to change the situation.
This meant looking at my nutrition and exercise habits, and swallowing my pride because I thought I was pretty good at both, and being open to starting some new habits.
I didn’t want to be one of those people sitting around all day complaining about my ailments, or about how I am just not as young as I used to be, and this gradual decline of everything is just to be expected, because, you know, that’s what happens when you hit 40.
Ummm, no thanks, I’ll pass on that life.
There are definitely some tradeoffs to make, when you make time for yourself.
We have 1/2 the income now, and that’s lasted a little longer than expected. Our kitchen still has purple countertops (compliments of the 85 year old woman who lived here before), something I said I needed to change 12 years ago and still haven’t. I don’t always get to travel, or purchase new clothing or furnishings when I want, and the outside of my home doesn’t exactly scream House Beautiful. And don’t just drop by my house without calling first, because it’s a disorganized mess.
But, guess what I do get to do?
I sometimes meet my husband at work for lunch and we take hikes. This gets him off his rear-end during the day, making him more active.
I do get to think about what I want to do for exercise every day, and now it’s a hobby I would never give up because I feel great.
I do get to hang out with my kid more than most moms and make sure we are outside and running around on most days.
And after finally giving in to months of repeated requests to join me on workouts, both Tom and Brett can jump into warrior stance or downward dog, or planks (even willingly…) without missing a beat.
That in particular makes me smile.
All three of us recently went to our doctor for yearly physicals. And I’m proud to say, aside from low vitamin D that basically everyone in Vermont has, we all check out 100% on our wellness plans for diet, nutrients and exercise.
I’m proud of that record.
The focus I have given to health and diet and exercise isn’t a waste of time, or even a luxury. It’s working for all of us.
Even though my confidence is still a little battered because I haven’t figured out a new career in the last few years, I know I have been a success, and will continue to be a success in my own family unit.
This family is going to be active, and happy and healthy for a long, long time…
And now that we know that, we can get back to more immediate concerns, like avoiding the flu just a little bit longer this season…