This weekend, I am going to drop wearing casual, lazy clothes when I get up and add exercise each day.
Mark Twain said “Clothes make the man”. Although he was talking about the mere presence of clothes and having influence, I think it’s also true that our clothes have a psychological effect on ourselves. One thing I’ve noticed about myself is the difference in my attitude when I’m wearing my lazy “around the house clothes” to when I’m wearing my “going out clothes”.
My lazy clothes consist of some neat, comfortable track pants, a comfortable t-shirt or long-sleeved top (that I wouldn’t wear in public) and my slippers. I love my slippers, because I get cold feet easily and they’re warm and soft and good for snuggling up on a couch for reading. When I’m wearing my slippers, I shuffle around feeling slumpy and cushiony. But even changing only my shoes seems to make a difference. My runners (which I wear the most outside of the house) have cushioned support and I also wear orthotic inserts. When I wear them I feel springy and taller and active. Somehow, just that change of footwear also changes my attitude. If I’m also wearing pants and a top that I could go out in (even if they’re just my “good” track pants that I go for walks in and a nicer t-shirt), it seems that my brain switches into “doing things” mode rather than “lumpy slumpy” mode.
I have a habit of putting on my lazy clothes when I first get up (I don’t like having to push around in a dressing gown). It means I don’t worry about getting breakfast or toothpaste or makeup on my good clothes and it gives me a chance to wake up a bit and assess the (crazy, crazy Melbourne) weather before I decide what to actually wear for the day. If I’m not going out, I tend to just stay in my lazy clothes. And I tend, therefore, to be slumpy lumpy lazy all day and really have to push myself to get up and do anything.
This weekend, I’m putting on some proper clothes, especially proper shoes, from the start. Even if it’s just my runners and my “walking” casual clothes, it means I’m springy and ready for action, even if the action is just making some soup or doing some tidying. I’m happy to have some lovely rest and relaxation, but I don’t want to be slumpy lumpy lazy all weekend.
On a clearly related note, this weekend I’m
trying determined to get back into regular exercise. I think it should be pretty clear by now that I am not a naturally active and energetic type of person! I love sedentry intellectual or creative pursuits. Clearly I need to exercise, just like everyone else, to stay healthy. I also know that I do feel better, healthier, happier and more energetic when I am regularly exercising. Before I started DO/AO, I had been struggling with this. Once I went back to uni and casual relief teaching, almost four years ago now, it became harder to have a set routine, and I am very much a creature of habit. Since Mum died last year, it’s seemed that I have more great excuses for not exercising than motivation to exercise (it’s too wet, it’s too hot, I’ve got to study, I’m tired after work, I’m going to help my sister with her toddler son, I have a headache…). Her death is still affecting a lot of my life.
When DO/AO began, I was managing to exercise 1-2 days a week, but in a very irregular and inconsistent fashion. However, I was sick over weekend 5 with a virus that left me abnormally fatigued for weeks afterwards. I also feel, since I’ve started this experiment, I’ve (coincidentally) felt extremely run-down and stressed about many things. This weekend, although weary and achey from work, I finally feel a like I have a bit of normal energy back. I know that exercising is part of a positive feedback loop, where the more I exercise, the more energy I have and the more I feel like exercising. Suddenly, this weekend, I just feel ready again and I don’t want to let all the normal excuses crowd in and lull me into putting it off.
So this weekend is going to be my kick-start. I’m not aiming for mega workouts or anything, just a start. I’m going to exercise for at least 20 minutes each day this weekend. I don’t care what exercise, provided it’s an aerobic workout that gets my heart rate up.