Making Me a Priority

As I’ve looked back over the past year, I haven’t been much of a priority in my own life. Without going too deep into this (I want to save something for me end of the year/New Year’s post), suffice it to say that the things that pertain to me got placed on the back burner, even though I was striving for balance this year. It takes me weeks and weeks to get around to deep conditioning my hair, doing laundry, updating a blog. I had stopped going to the gym altogether. Consequently, there wasn’t much to write about here in my personal blog, as personally I wasn’t doing much.

My family has been here for a week, a week in which I have had to work most days. I went from work to home to spend time with them and spent time with them all weekend after having spent the previous week cleaning up for them, trying to find things for them to do, making sure there was clean towels and linens for them. But I managed to do something I hadn’t done in a long time this past week: make me a priority.

I have been wanting to get back in the gym, and as my family aren’t early risers, I was able to go on Saturday morning and yesterday morning. I ran for a whole song one day and two whole songs the next trip. I went .6 miles the first day, and 1.3 miles the next time. I tried new machines (the stairmaster, for one) and used old favorites (the arc trainer and the rowing machine). I got in a mini sweat session, and it felt GOOD. It was nice to slow down (ironically, while moving more than I have in a while), focus in on my breathing, silently sing along to my favorite workout songs, focus in on changing minute aspects of my form. I felt like I had all the time in the world to do something for me.

Anyone who exercises at the beginning of the day can attest to how much better your attitude is throughout the day. Your endorphins are flowing and you feel like you’ve sweated out all the negativity you may have awakened with that day. You celebrate the new milestones and achievements, like being able to run longer or at a faster pace, finally getting into a yoga position you thought was impossible, going up a level on a machine or adding some more weight. For me, it’s been finally catching that feeling again of hitting a natural running stride, where my breathing slots into place, my stride evens out, and I feel my body moving like a well oiled machine performing a familiar task. I didn’t even have to think about what I was doing or remember to breathe; I could finally get out of my own way.

The reason I went to the gym on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas is because I decided to put me first a bit more from here on in. I can’t do all the things that I’ve been doing if I don’t take care of myself. I don’t want to burn out on doing for others because I’m run down or resentful I don’t have time for myself. I took an hour a day out to do something that was exclusively for me in the midst of all the holiday craziness, and instead of feeling guilty about it, I can’t help but think it’s the greatest gift I could have given to myself.

When did you realize you needed to make yourself a priority? What’s the greatest gift you’ve given yourself?

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