“Challenge yourself to be an example of change.”
― Debasish Mridha
Staying active in Wisconsin in the winter, during a pandemic, can be like staying sober after two or three beers. It’s difficult, especially when the fierce NE winds and single digit (F) temps make me shiver at the thought.
Winter often has the effect of invoking hibernation – the desire to sleep and be lazy, along with watching TV from the butt indentation of the couch, writing sparsely and the lack of motivation to exercise. When I retired from work back in September, I prepared for winter by buying a good pair of winter hiking boots, warm mittens, and a set of resistance bands so that I would continue to exercise during the non-biking months. Full intentions and great expectations! I already have a yoga mat and the clothes that make me look like I know what I’m doing, so am good to go in that department – regardless of the fact that I haven’t continued a regular practice since the local yoga studio closed its doors in April of 2020.
Then November came and went and I didn’t do much except read a little, write a little and watch too much TV. Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access…they can all be a cold-weather curse. December arrived and pretty much the same, except I engaged in a “use-up-the-scrapbooking-supplies-to-make-cards” project that ate up a lot of my time for over a month, and I ended up (next time on Hoarders) buying more scrapbooking supplies. Little exercise was to be had other than an occasional walk with the required layers of down and wool.
By the time January rolled around, the bad effects all of this nonsense was reflected in how much my back ached. I hurt most days. I swallowed Advil and used a heating pad far too often, both of which were the impetus for afternoon snoozes. I was not in a good way, physically speaking.
During this time, writing didn’t feel easy either. When the body is down, when my back hurts, it’s even more difficult to sit at a laptop for any length of time and be creative. I continued to blog, but often wasn’t inspired in thought or by the small pandemic radius in which I reside. You may not have noticed a difference, but I felt it.
So, finally, I took off my white glove, slapped myself in the face, and commanded myself to “get going.”
The yoga mat and resistance bands came out of the closet and are being used with a little more determination, but that is not enough. I need an ongoing kick-in-the-butt, so I did two things this week.
- I signed up for an online, worldwide exercise challenge that continues throughout 2021. It starts February 1st and I’m hoping that the exercise program and challenge community keep me focused and on track. I will not go into a gym or yoga studio at this point, and that calls for home or web-based alternatives.
- I signed up for a year’s subscription to Master Class so that I could take a few writing courses. Learn something new and from people who are good at it (David Sedaris, Margaret Atwood, etc.), and get the creative juices flowing. The pandemic has made me feel, at times, that I have nothing to write about, but I know that’s in my head and not true. There’s plenty of material if I simply look around, observe and keep writing.
I truly want to find benefit in both the writing class and exercise challenge, but if one or both fail to meet my needs, I have 30 days to cancel. On the other hand, I don’t want to be the lily-livered cowgirl that runs away from a fight. I want this to be an example of personal change – not necessarily for others, but for my own self worth and well-being.
My mind and body tell me they deserve it, that once in awhile, a slap to the face feels good.
This post has been brought to you by a white glove and Linda Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday. If you are wondering what One-Liner Wednesday is all about, CLICK HERE.
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28 responses to A Slap of the White Glove
Every day at 4 p.m., my phone alarm goes off and I head to the treadmill. I hate walking on the treadmill, but living in cold, snowy New England, I’m grateful I have the option. Sounds like you have a plan for getting through until bike riding is again an option so good luck. 🙂
I had a treadmill about 10 years ago, but it became a drying rack for my yoga mat. I hated it too, Judy, so eventually sold it and stuck with yoga and the gym that was a block away at the time. I hope I’m back to the bike in three months or less, if the weather cooperates.
Good for you, Mary! Finding a way and a reason to exercise in January is difficult. Finding the necessary push to start writing something is right up there. It’s especially hard when you’re use to a routine that included going out and bring near people.
Good luck with the classes. I hope they give you the activation energy you need. I look forward to the result of your writing more.
Thanks, Dan. I was feeling in such a slump, I knew I had to do something…anything…to get out of it and the answer of “exercise more” was clear. The writing class is something I’ve been contemplating for months, so that is an add-on to keep me engaged and off the couch. 🙂
Next time on hoarders…gave me a laugh…good for you and getting out of the doldrums.
The hoarding of scrapbooking supplies is a real issue. I seem to collect more than I can use. I even donated a bunch of items one year for a raffle basket. But the cool papers and stickers and other items keep me coming back for more. It’s a good thing I’m only ordering online right now ir it could be worse. 🥴
I have a lot of supplies in storage, along with various cloth material. Can’t get to any of it
I had mine in storage too, for a few years, because I moved in with a friend and no longer had a separate work space. I started using it again a couple of years ago when I started Bible journaling and with the recent card project, I remember how much I love doing this. I hope to keep up with the cards or start adding pages to a scrapbook.
I love it too, miss the creative side, but my one bedroom apt is too small for extras
Boy, can I relate. When I retired, I told my husband we were going to get out and walk first thing in the morning. Yeah, that doesn’t happen. Either way too hot and sunny or too cold. I exercised more when I was working!
Let me know how you like the Master Class, Mary. I have read mixed reviews on Annie Leibovitz photography, so am not sure to spend the money.
Good luck with your goals. You might be kicking my butt do do something!! Thanks for that!
Lois, I was the same when working. I would go straight from the office to a yoga class during the week and work out with a trainer on Saturday mornings. It was a good routine and when I retired, I thought it would be so easy to keep up with those habits at home. Ha!
So far, I like the Master Class with David Sedaris (he’s my favorite humorist), but there are others I want to dive into. The videos that come with each class are like Ted Talks and I was able to download a PDF workbook to accompany them. The workbook has some of the same stories and information in the videos, but it also hands out assignments. The only issue I see with this is that I may not get a lot of feedback like I did when I took a course through the library. I expect, though, that I’ll learn a few new tricks or be inspired to write more, whether it’s a post or something in a notebook. I know about spending the money – I hemmed and hawed about this for months.
Thanks, Mary. Good stuff to know. And I read that you can do a 7-day trial. I might have to give it a whirl!
I hear you loud and clear. I’ve been home now for 10+ months and I want something good/great to have come from this experience but it’s a challenge to encourage myself. I started taking a continuing education college course online to keep my brain clicking, but I have yet to find any exercise *regime* online that gets me pumped. 😕
Good for you, Ally, on taking the college course. I had thought about that too or learning Spanish, but the writing course is what I really wanted.
Exercise can be hard if one form or another doesn’t speak to you. I quit my gym membership prior to the pandemic because that’s one place I had to force myself to go. Meanwhile, I have always loved yoga, so I signed up for unlimited monthly classes in 2019. I’m sad about the studio closing, but I imagine I will either find somewhere else to go when it’s safe or I will be happy to do this at home.
I, too, have been much too sedentary during this time. Engaging in more physical activity has to be a good thing! I took several master classes. I rather enjoyed both Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume’s class. I also took gordon Ramsey’s cooking class. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Thanks for the positive Master Class feedback, Maggie. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of what it has to offer.
I can so relate: I hoard crafting supplies — I did several purges, donating my excess to an arts program at a woman’s shelter; an after school program, and a charity thrift shop. But, there are those lovely papers, pretty frames, etc. etc. I actually bought plastic storage containers this year (scrapbook size and letter size) to tuck them away in.
As to exercise: the virus has kept me away from the YMCA where I did tai chi 3x a week, sometimes took aquafit or aquatherapy classes, and used the treadmill, and various other exercise equipment. Like you, I need a “motivator” to get active — we bought a fold-up exercise bicycle, and I’m pedaling from the east coast to the west. A long distance friend and I are encouraging each other to eat healthier (good by to salty snacks for me; bread for him) and lose weight and “waist.”
So your slap in the face is my kick in the butt.
Glad I could help, Lorraine. My brother bought a bike trainer last fall so he could exercise through the winter, and I thought about one myself, but I would have to bike in a cold garage without much to look at. No room in the apartment. Kudos to you for the biking goal (keep pedaling) and giving up the salty snacks. You will feel so much better.
I’m impressed with your actions to sign up for these classes, and I bet they’re going to be great. It’s interesting how I can know lots of yoga poses, but only do about ten minutes of my favorites on my own. Earlier this month, I started working with a personal trainer for the first time in my life. She tells me what my body also tells me, that sitting at a computer and watching TV make my body weaker, so I need to balance that with exercise. I’m also doing an online class paid for by my Medicare supplement. After three weeks, my back is starting to feel stronger with fewer spasms. I bet your back will feel better, too.
JoAnna, personal trainers are great if you find one that takes good care of you and what you need for exercise. You will enjoy this, I am sure. I have been doing yoga from YouTube and they have a variety of videos from 15 minutes to an hour or longer. I pick the one I feel ready and willing to do and it’s been working good. Both of our backs will be feeling better!
I’m inspired! I’m going to start my exercise tomorrow. I’ve got a couple of those inflated balls and more ankle weights than needed… Thanks for the nudge!
Good for you! Take it easy, though. A little for the first few days goes a long way. Take time to build up your strength.
We all go through these times, Mary. Congrats on finding your turning point. Sounds like a solid plan. I look forward to hearing how your writing class goes. 🤗
Thanks, Cheryl. I want to make 2021 so much better than last year and I think exercising my mind and body will help a great deal.
Ooh! Master class! 😀 Nice!
Resistance bands are where it’s at, because weights are hard and cold (in the garage) and the gym is far (15 minutes away, tops) and germy (truly, it’s only safe to swim.)
I’m working on the Sedaris writing class now and have the first week in on the exercise challenge. Both are going well and will help me get through the cold of February. I hope all is well with you, Joey!
Sounds promising! Have a great week 😀