So there you are. You just got home from work after a long day, the sun is still setting early so you only have a couple of hours before it’s pitch black outside, and all you want to do is sit down. To zone out. To decompress as you prepare yourself to do it all over again tomorrow.
Maybe you have kids to pick up from school, dinner to start getting ready, chores that need to get done. Weeknights move fast, and it often seems like there is never enough time to do the things you have to do while also finding those moments to relax. And on top of that, finding the motivation to exercise can be daunting if not outright impossible.
I know I sometimes struggle to find motivation to do anything after I get home from work. I want to become my couch. I want to curl up under a blanket and watch movies until it’s time to go to bed. I want to eat gummy worms and play Spider Solitaire on my phone. I want the world to understand how TIRED I am and to tell myself how much I deserve to keep sitting down, keep scrolling social media, and keep putting off all the things I tell myself I’m going to do tomorrow.
But I also know that exercise makes me feel better. It gives me a solid foundation to deal with everything else. When I exercise regularly, I am calmer, I am more confident, I am more creative. I am probably kinder and more patient. I am more content with my life and my circumstances. I am happier.
Now, I don’t know your schedule, I don’t know the obstacles (both physical and emotional) that you face when trying to make time for exercise, so I’m not writing this post to say, YOU MUST _____ or YOU SHOULD ______ or WHY HAVEN’T YOU _____.
We are also in the latter half of January, the place where many New Year’s resolutions go to die, so you might already be feeling that pressure, guilt or even shame about what you are doing versus what you thought you would be doing, or what you still think you should be doing. So I’m not here to add to that. I’m just here to tell you about one thing that has helped me. One thing that gets me outside for at least 30 minutes.
I call them laundry walks.
I live in an apartment building and we have two washers and two driers that are available for everyone to use. As a courtesy to others, you are expected to move your clothes along as promptly as possible. So, when I find myself with a full laundry hamper and two empty washers, I know it’s time for a laundry walk. I pull on some leggings and my walking shoes, I carry my laundry down the stairs to the laundry room, I press start on the washer, and GO.
I set a timer on my watch and I walk for the entirety of the wash cycle. Sometimes, when I have a little more time and I’m not racing both the clock and the sun, I’ll head out after I start the drier. This is time I might have otherwise just sat on the couch and looked at my phone, or time argued over what exercise I could do while never making a decision.
Laundry walks let you know when you need to be back. They hang up that finish line ribbon for you to cross. They give you a reason to get outside for 30 minutes.
Now, you probably don’t have laundry to do every day so other versions of this walk can include:
-A poultry prance: which is when you set your walk timer for the time it will take for your chicken breasts to bake.
-A takeout trek: which is when you set your walk timer for the delivery window of your Grub Hub order.
-A sunset stride: which is when you set your walk timer for the exact time of sunset in your area.
-A shower saunter: which is when there is more than one person in your house that has to take a shower before dinner, so you offer to take a walk while they shower first.
And of course,
-A dishwasher wander: which is when you start the dishwasher (which in my case is VERY LOUD) and you set your walk timer for the duration of the wash cycle, so you don’t have to feel like you’re inside the dishwasher as it runs.
Perhaps you want to run instead of walk? Great.
Do yoga? Stretch? Dance? Amazing.
Any and all can make you feel like a multitasker and a productivity icon, and they are also sneaky providers of endorphins you might have otherwise missed out on. You don’t have to go far or fast, you just have to get moving. And before you know it, your clothes are washed, your chicken is baked, and you are ready to relax.