Have you ever brainstormed solutions to a problem, only to realize you have a problem for each solution? I find when I do that, I’m left to stew in my own juice while I make no progress.
That’s me when it comes to exercise. I know, and write about, how important it is for caregivers to keep up their own health with a healthy diet and exercise. Truth is, I hate, hate, hate exercise. It uses up time I don’t have and energy I can’t spare. I know, exercise will give me a boost. So why, after walking for a half hour do I need to rest and rejuvenate with a cup of coffee? Part of it could be my knees are wonky and I have arthritis, but just the same…… where’s the high?
Brain over Brawn
When I was about five, my parents enrolled me in a gymnastics program. (I don’t recall asking for that.) I was in the Tadpole group and had to stand on my head to graduate to the next level. Frogs? I have no idea, I never got there. I simply could not stand on my head.
“Stand on her head!” my father said, when my mother told him of my failure. “I just want her to walk through a doorway without hitting both sides of it.”
Sad to say, I never mastered that either. So, you can see why exercise is not my main stress reliever. I prefer using my head to moving my carcass. I love to read, write, quilt, play piano or guitar (Actually, I don’t play the guitar, I torture it.) I like to SIT and visit with friends, SIT and work with a committee on a project. My last nursing position was — you guessed it — behind a desk.
Superego Over Ego
Way back in the 60’s when I took my psychiatric courses, I learned about the ego (the wild child in all of us) and the superego (the stern parent we prefer to ignore). So, as I find any lame excuse to put off exercising, my superego nags me.
“It will reduce caregiver stress. It will help maintain normal weight. It will help your immune system ward off illness. It’s good for your lungs, muscles, and you’re not getting any younger, you know.”
“Lord love a duck! Shut up!” shouts my ego.
But it won’t shut up. To take the curse off exercise, I download college lectures from the Teaching Company onto my iPhone and listen to scintillating discussions like the Age of Benjamin Franklin. That kind of helps, but maybe I should download a nail biter of a novel instead. (As I reread this paragraph, I realized perhaps my problem is I tell my brain that exercise is a curse. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm).
I could just enjoy the outdoors and “smell the flowers” as it were. That should be a Zen experience if there ever was one. Unfortunately, my brain won’t turn off. I could combine yard work and exercise, killing two birds with one stone. But in the end, my final solution is obeying my superego’s exasperated command: quityourbitchinandjustdoit.
So, I’m off for a walk while I ponder why I think that is a bad thing, and the stupidity of listening to the illogical lies my brain cooks up.