I don't FEEEEL like it!
Saturday, July 28, 2018
Somehow when it comes to physical activity my inner whiny tween shows up with a vengeance. That's exactly how I picture her too. About 12 years old. The age I was when I last remember being physically active for the sheer joy of moving my body through space. At 11 I was a gymnast. I was never going to be olympic caliber but I adored gymnastics. I rode my bike or was on roller skates everywhere I went. Yes I was "fat" but I was strong and I loved to play and be outside. Then came 12, that year of transition, and "middle school" where recess was replaced with PE and play became a measured metric where I was judged and nearly always found wanting.
I hated PE. I hated how it took everything and made it into a competition. Even activities that I had previously enjoyed like volleyball and four square and badminton became a total nightmare of where in the choosing of teams would I be picked (often last) and caring about the score and being socially shamed based on the result of what was supposed to be a fun game. That awkward adolescent phase intersected terribly with the new demands of an athletic prowess I simply did not possess. I fell running backwards during a running drill my first six weeks of 7th grade and broke my arm. I grew to associate exercise with humiliation, pain and shame.
She's the one I constantly have to reassure. That little 12 year old that no longer remembers how to play. She is why I don't generally go for traditional exercise activities. They might be more "efficient" but if she's pushed too hard, she'll shut down. So we play. We dance. We go outside in the dark and spin poi that lights up and we delight in the patterns they make in the dark as they spin. We put on full gear, including the shiny, jingling hip scarf, even if we're only doing drills in our hallway. We do yoga because it feels good to stretch and there's no competition in yoga. And when she whines that she doesn't FEEEEEEEEL like it I coax her out with the promise that we only have to do 10 minutes. Often times we do way more than that but 10 minutes is always enough.
I'm finally reaching the point that I'm in charge around here. 12 year old me shows up less and less often now. When she does I have to remember to honor her struggle and be gentle with myself. To check in with my body and see if I really am too sick to do anything or can I do some chair or bed based movement if nothing else (been sick a lot in July unfortunately). To remember that it ALWAYS has to be painless and it ideally needs to be fun.
So there you go Spark Coach...there's not a list for me more patience and honoring the process...but the question was how do you motivate yourself when you don't feel like exercise and that right there is how I do it.