I’m sorry the blog is a bit late. It is hectic as usual, and I’m typing as quickly as my keyboard allows (my “s” key doesn’t like to work) because I’ve got yet another realtor showing my house today.
Amidst all of this hustle and bustle, I’m having a very hard time finding space and time to breathe. Anyone else? A few weeks ago, during a particularly trying time, I woke up in the middle of the night with what I can only describe as the worst headache I’ve ever had. I felt horrible. My head hurt so bad that I was nauseous, and I was having panic attacks combined with my allergies on overdrive. It was terrible, and the worst part was that I had done it to myself.
I’m a stress case, pure and simple. I worry about everything from selling the house to making sure Thanksgiving dinner is everything my family is used to, never mind that we’re in the middle of negotiating a contract to sell it. I worry about remembering to do Elf on the Shelf for my youngest. (Why did I ever start that?!?) I bite my nails over thoughts of someone falling down the spiral staircase that is in our new house. That is, if we actually can close escrow on the new house. Anxiety, anyone?
A lot of my stress is unnecessary. I have to learn ways to combat the tension. Cortisol – the stress hormone – flows freely through my body. I’m sure it is why I can’t seem to lose more than four pounds right now, and why my feelings tend to taste like M&Ms.
I’m in this weight loss program, probably from my M&M consumption, and every single week my personal coach asks me about what I’m doing for myself. At some point, I realized I needed walks as part of my self-care routine. I can’t decide if I really wanted to walk or if I really just needed to give her a good answer. I know I need to sort my thoughts, or even just breathe, but walking? Not so fun. While I know I benefit from the exercise and fresh air, my frontal lobe also screams that it would prefer to lie on the couch like a beached whale and eat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups while reading a book. This is a problem.
I really don’t love exercise. I hate that feeling of wanting to quit that comes right before the adrenaline kicks in and I feel fine again. I am not a runner – in fact if anyone ever sees me running they should immediately call the police because I am definitely being chased. I’m not a cyclist or a spinner – the idea of riding a stationary bike in a class filled with people who love to “challenge” themselves makes me want to hurl. But this stress…
Last week, I had a real “A-ha” moment, and I don’t mean from watching the video for “Take on Me”. I was thinking about how I needed to take my walk, but that I really wanted to read instead. I don’t have time for both in my day – it’s literally do one or the other. For whatever reason, I remembered something Simon talked about in his last Katy Kafe about joining Audible.
When Simon talked about subscribing to Audible, I shrugged it off, thinking that I never have moments to myself to listen to a book. I’m never in the car alone, Walt absolutely hates it when I wear earbuds and listen to anything here at home, and I couldn’t think of any other time I’d use it. Until now.
I listen to music when I walk. It is the one time I can listen to whatever I want without someone complaining or giving me their two cents. I like it, but it doesn’t make me stop thinking about the fact that I’m walking, or that I’m a little out of breath from walking up a hill. The idea of listening to music doesn’t make me want to get up and walk, either. Reading though, that’s a treat for me. I almost never get time to actually read a book, unless it is one I’m reading for school in order to teach the youngest. What if I combined walking with listening to a book?!
A light bulb went on in my head. I immediately subscribed to Audible and found my first couple of books. I went on a walk, and for the first time, I found myself almost sad when it ended. The deal is this: I can only listen to my books when I walk, and this way – I’m very eager to walk each day! So far, it’s worked like a charm. The book lets me forget about the boxes I need to fill, or the dishes I need to wash, and even the vacuuming that I have to get done. I spend about 35 minutes escaping, and it is wonderful! I feel good about getting a couple of miles in, and even better that I’m getting a chance to read whatever I want! It is heaven!
I don’t know how much time I’m going to have to walk during the next 30 days or so, but I’m going to do my best. Dealing with stress IS hard, but having just a little time to breathe and be away from the madness has worked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still worried about things, but I’m managing. I’m hanging in there, and I am learning to love my exercise time, too!
I’d encourage anyone to try it out – but even if reading isn’t your thing, don’t give up on finding something to let yourself breathe every now and then. Thanks for the tip on Audible, Simon!