One of my recent YouTube videos, in which I do my nails and chat, I talked about ways to get moving. Small things we can do throughout the day to get ourselves moving/going. And, I shared a little bit of why it’s important to make sure we’re moving our bodies, and a bit of my story.
But, I know I have more people who also read the blog here, and wanted to share here, too, because sometimes, we need multiple reminders.
So, a bit about my story – after we brought my son home in March (my second baby just 15 months after the first), I was so sick. My body and mind kind of felt like they are falling apart. I was also bedridden much of my last trimester, as well as the time following. We struggled to figure out what was going on. About 6 weeks postpartum, I was at my worst. My tubal surgery seemed to trigger one of the worst illnesses of my life and exasperate symptoms that I’ve had for years. The diagnosis: fibromyalgia and cluster headaches. On top of the IBS and chronic migraines, my life was almost at a stand still. This led to struggles with my postpartum anxiety and depression, which made it hard the first couple months our son was home.
When I put my fitbit back on because my husband and I decided to get in better health together, I had many days where I couldn’t even hit 1,000 steps a day. Y’all, that’s bad. Our bodies deteriorate like that, we aren’t meant to be that sedentary.
So, I started doing more movement and eating better food. And, it really got me thinking: how can women who experience chronic health or mental health issues get some more movement into their day?
Our bodies need movement, but so many of these conditions make getting out of bed a win. So, let’s look at some ways we can get small movements into our days (and some bonus results along the way):
- Get up each day (most days): The fact is, we may likely have days getting out of bed just won’t work for us. Give yourself grace on those days. But on most days, at minimum, get yourself out of bed. Even if it’s just to walk yourself to your favorite comfy chair. That small movement will get in some steps in, and it will also trigger your brain that there’s been a change, so you’ll be slightly more motivated.
- Get ready each day: even if it’s just to go back to bed, change your clothes, put your hair in a bun, and brush your teeth. Showering often. This gets movements into your day, and, bonus, ensures your hygiene is taken care of. This is especially important for people struggling with depression/anxiety – ensuring your body will be taken care of at the most basic level.
- Wear a fitness tracker: this will help you see where you’re starting and where you can improve. It will help you begin to set goals for yourself. Start small and work your way up.
- When working form home, or working at a desk all day, get up and moving for 5 minutes of every hour. If you do this in an 8 hour day, you’ve got 40 minutes of movement. If you do this in a 6 hour day, you’ve got 30 minutes of movement. Walk your house, do some jumping jacks, squat, whatever you choose, but doing it in little pockets gives your body time to rest in between.
- Have a refillable water bottle, and drink from it all day. That way, you have to go back to your kitchen to refill it. Bonus: you’re getting hydrated, which helps with so many things related to our health and mental health.
- Do some simple cleaning tasks: cleaning is exercise, guys. Sweep, mop, clean counters, do dishes, do a load of laundry from start to finish. You’ll get some movement in & get your house clean(er).
- If you have kiddos or pets, play with them. Your kids and pets want your time and they want your attention. And, even just 5-10 minutes of tag or dance party or simply getting on the floor and playing with them can go a long way for your movement. Bonus: bonding time with your kiddo, bonding time with your pet. They love you, and I know you love them. Let them know by those little pockets of time.
- Turn on your favorite song and dance to it. Build your way up to 2 songs. If you have small kids, turn on their kiddie show and dance with them.
- Find some beginner level workouts on YouTube: especially yoga, pilates, or light aerobics. Find a short one, just to get you going. There are some easy ones there, that you can turn on, and just do what you can. Even one minute or two will get you starting to build your stamina.
- Pick up a new hobby – this one has less to do with movement, and more to do with us having something to look forward to doing as we get up and going. This will naturally get us moving more, even if we don’t realize it.
- Take a quick break on a nice day to just walk down your street. Even to the corner and back. Bonus for this one: Vitamin D, which many of us are lacking.
- Cook your own food. Bonus: while naturally getting movement in, you’re also (likely) making better food choices, which can help with balancing weight, which will also help in many cases to relieve some inflammation and pain.
When we struggle with some kind of chronic issue, it can be a task just to get out of bed, or change our clothes. But doing a few of these things each day, on our good days, can really go a long way in: building stamina, snowballing motivation, and keeping us connected with things and people we love.
What I’ve learned from years of health and mental health issues, and this acute phase this year, is that these issues can be isolating and extremely damaging to our health and self-worth.
These simple get up and get moving ideas can help turn the corner in these, and begin to reframe how we view or take on the good days, and allow us to give grace and freedom to ourselves for the bad days.