Hands up who has a new year's resolution to exercise more, weigh less and reduce stress? Join the gym. Join yoga. Actually GO to the gym. Actually GO to yoga. Hands up who has had this on their New Year's resolution list for many years in a row? I know, start with good intentions in January and then by mid-February run out of steam with just occasional visits and by March, well, the gym membership is just a thing you see on your monthly bank statement.
We have all been there. We intend to prioritise our wellbeing. Our health. Our energy levels. Our body. We are full of good intentions. But then, somehow, well, we don't. Life just sort of gets in the way. We just get "too busy" and good intentions slide.
Okay so here's the thing, and I can say all this woowoo stuff with confidence because I am also a yoga teacher: the body is the moving temple of the soul.
That makes it pretttttttttty important. Now I know getting the marketing report to the CEO by COB is also important, as is making an elaborate birthday cake for the birthday party, but, is it more important than the Temple of your Soul?
I learned this one the hard way: I put everything before the needs of my body. My work, my bosses' work, making sure the house was tidy, making sure all my staff were happy and productive, keeping on top of all my email, going out and socialising even when I was dog-tired because I didn't want to let anyone down and so on. Stuff just kept cropping up and the yoga class would get dropped "just for this week". The pre-body to do list was mighty long. Down there somewhere at item 342 was "exercise" right after items 341 and 340 "look after self" and "rest". The upshot of this madness was that I eventually ended up with severe adrenal fatigue and was bedridden for a number of months and sick for well over a year.
While I was bedridden I had a lot of time to ponder the error of my ways. In my "too busyness" I had clearly neglected my Moving Temple of the Soul and it was letting me know in the clearest possible terms.
I realised looking after my body needed to be Number 1 on my To Do list, because without it I had nothing. I can see quite clearly that all the millions of timy choices I had made the years before to prioritise everything else before my body had led me to that place of fatigue. The great irony being of course that now I couldn't do anything for anyone, including myself. I had nothing to give because I had neglected to give to myself first.
This was a big error. And the bottom line is that EVERYTHING else can wait. It's the classic scenario of putting on your own oxygen mask before you help your children: if you don't take care of you first then you may not be in any condition to later take care of the people and things you care about.
Learning that President Obama exercises every day (45 minutes minimum) was a real penny dropping moment for me. How on earth could I think I was too busy to look after my body and find time to exercise? Sure I had a demanding senior level executive job and my own business to run but was I actually saying I was busier than the Leader of the Western World? Kind of embarrassing right?! So right there you have it: the next time you think you are too busy to commit to that weekly spin class, go for that swim or play ball with the kids, ask yourself: Am I busier than Barack Obama? If you are not then, let's face it, you have the time to go to class or the game. You owe it to yourself, your family and to your Moving Temple of the Soul.
Are you busier than Barack Obama? Yes/No?
Okay then, get your trainers on and make it happen in 2013. Make your wellbeing the priority it should be.
Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise visit www.positivebalance.co.nz.