I love winter but my hermit ways can sometimes lead me into too much hunkering down and not enough get outside and squint for a bit time.
Disclosure: I’m afraid this isn’t going to be an inspiring, glossy post about exercise and New Year’s resolutions.
No. This is me in the picture on one of my minimum 22 minute brisk walks a day. As you might guess from my face I’m not really enjoying it. Some days I do enjoy it a bit, but this face is fairly standard. I’ll employ a variety of tactics to get me out the door - music, a podcast or book to listen to on my headphones, a dog to walk, a reward on my return…
My daily walks are never pretty. Invariably I trip and stumble (hello, Dyspraxia!), I get overheated and grumpy, and nine times out of ten I’ll have a raging wedgie that I can do NOTHING about in case anyone sees me. I’ll go out of my way to avoid all people, even if that means walking for longer.
I do all of this because actually though, despite my above protestations, I do find that getting outside and moving for a bit does me some good, and most importantly it allows me to process some of my thoughts and feelings and be alone for a while. Which is kind of essential. I like to be alone.
I put myself through this each day as an act of self-compassion.
There are a lot of misconceptions about self-compassion. It’s one of my favourite research topics. For example, self-compassion isn’t necessarily about being soft on yourself, and is actually far less about letting yourself off the hook, and more about not setting yourself up for failure. Important distinction there.
I can do 22 minutes of movement (usually very brisk walking) a day outside. Most days I can do more than that (and find that I do) but right now I’m setting the bar there so that I continue to rise to the sweaty and not much fun challenge. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I want to slowly and steadily maintain and build my healthy habits. Even the ones that give me wedgies.