OXYGEN (guest post by the amazing Shauna).

 

wpid 2011 05 19 20.15.231 300x225 OXYGEN (guest post by the amazing Shauna).

*NOT* the image Shauna sent.

Ahhh, People. Shauna sent me this by-request guest post along with a very snazzy photo of a flight attendant.  The thing is, as much as I loved the image & long to do Shauna’s bidding, I had to rebel.  I adore Shauna.  I miss our podcasts.  I treasure our friendship.  Im honored she would share her words with us.  Please to enjoy.

 

How many times have you heard Carla say, “you have to put on your own oxygen mask first” when it comes to exercise?

I’d always nod my head sagely at that one. Brilliant stuff, Miz! That’s a cracker of an analogy! I know it will really help all those people who put themselves last on their priority list. You know, those really busy people with hordes of kids and/or high-powered careers and/or ailing parents and/or really naughty dogs to take care of?

But it didn’t apply to me. Nothing could come between me and exercise. It had hauled me off the couch and out of clinical depression. I lived for my Spinning and weight training sessions. I also had neither child nor pet, so oxygen-mask-forgetting was for those properly busy people.

Then last year I got a promotion at work and I started Up & Running with my running coach friend Julia Jones, creating awesome e-courses to help women around the world get into running. Suddenly I was genuinely, seriously, joyously busy.

It took awhile to notice the oxygen mask had slipped. I was in a frenzy at my day job, covering for my boss while she was on maternity leave. She worked with high standards and efficiency, so I was determined not to spend the twelve months destroying her good work. Before long I was working my lunch breaks instead of walking them, and swapping evening Spinning for weary flopping on the couch.

Meanwhile at Up & Running, I was in love with the project and our growing community of runners. Julia lives in Italy so we often work together over Skype. A year on I can admit it, I kinda lost myself for awhile there…

“Well, it’s a beautiful Sunday here,” she said after a productive chat, “I’m going out for a run.”

“Pardon?”

“I’ll be back in two hours.”

“Okaaaay then,” I said, while simmering on the inside, HOW…. DARE… YOU! Don’t you know how much work we have to do? What about this list of twenty-seven totally urgent things? How can you go out and run when all these runners need us!

She returned to Skype with rosy cheeks, buckets of energy and ready for more work. I was still glued to my chair, cranky and resentful as I obsessively tweaked a blog post about the importance of making time for exercise.

Hot and cold, all or nothing; feast or famine – choose your own cliché for my erratic approach to exercise. And the knock-on effect of shoving fitness down the priority list? My eating was sloppy, my sleep was sloppier, and I was a rather moody git to live with.

I should exercise, I’d mutter, I must take better care of myself… I need to get back on track. But should, must and need didn’t inspire me to action. I had to get honest and ask WHY.

“Put on your own oxygen mask first,” our Carla would say. Why do I think I don’t need one?

Sometimes… the logistics of exercise feel too overwhelming to think about.

Sometimes… it feels like an indulgence when there’s so many other things to do.

Sometimes… I just can’t be arsed getting hot and sweaty.

Sometimes… I genuinely deep down believe that what I need isn’t as important as the needs of others.

Sometimes… I’m sh*tscared that I if don’t do everything perfectly and immediately I’ll be outed as a fraud, get fired from my day job, all our lovely Up & Runners will run away, and the world will basically stop turning. Yeah, I think that’s it!

Downloading all that angst onto paper was very cathartic. It looked less scary when written down. Kinda ridiculous, even.

Now what to do with it all? Turn it around with another list, of course. Lists are brilliant. So… why do I need my Exercise Oxygen?

… it takes me out of my head and back into my body

… it brings perspective and insight to whatever’s frazzling me

… it makes me feel foxy and happy in my own skin

… I’m miles more productive afterwards

… it’s like an injection of self-esteem and self-belief

… it makes me feel stronger and excited about life

… the stronger I feel, the more wholeheartedly and generously I give to others

The second list was a magical kick in the pants. I’ve been back in a happy exercise groove for over six months now. Yes, I had to make practical changes too – like getting to bed earlier and signing up for a yoga class five minutes walk from the office that’s too convenient to even dream of skipping. But the most helpful thing is to reading that list and keep asking myself WHY. The reasons are so personally delicious and compelling that I grab that oxygen mask and gulp away.

Do you ever find it hard to put your mask on first? Why do you need your exercise oxygen?

Shauna Reid writes at Dietgirl.org and co-created Up & Running online running courses with coach Julia Jones. They run e-courses for new and seasoned runners in 5K, 10K or Half Marathon distances, all with unlimited coaching support, kickass training plans and a wildly supportive online community.

Want to get your run on this summer? Their eight-week Summer 5K and 10K Courses begin next week. Get 20% of all e-courses and training plan downloads – just use the code MIZROCKS at checkout.

 

**This code can’t be used with any other discount codes and expires on Sunday 10 June 2012

POSTS BY EMAIL

Never miss a post. Enter your email to get my latest posts delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. says

    Great message. I’m especially struggling with this reminder now that the little chillies have started their summer break. My oldest does not enjoy going to the kids club at the gym. She’s a too cool tween and their are lots of little kids there. I finally told her, “Mom drives you all around to all of your activities all week long, and I don’t mind doing it, all I’m asking for is two mornings classes at the gym.” I think it’s perfectly fair. We’ll see how well it works out!

  2. says

    I don’t have a problem making exercise a priority anymore, but I LOVE your whys. I will keep them in mind when I a tempted to hit snooze instead of getting sweaty. Today I talked myself out of bed knowing that I would be in a foul mood all day if I didn’t get some exercise.

  3. says

    Oh boy can I relate! I’ve recently starting gulping from my own exercise oxygen mask (after having taken an extended “break”) and it really does make all the difference. Brava Shauna!

  4. says

    I love Shauna’s writing – her Australian accent comes through loud and clear and is just so charming! I need my exercise oxygen to offset my knitting addiction, lol!

  5. says

    Exercise has never been an issue for me. It’s an appointment in my (almost) daily book of life and I keep my appointments. I know that’s not the case for many people though.

    Also, great post but may I just say that the thing that came GLARING out at me was your boss’ maternity leave… TWELVE MONTHS? That’s amazing.

  6. says

    Your message is great cause so many do struggle! I don’t but I have been at this a long time & it is just life for me.. it starts the day right & makes me feel better & stronger & I know it is in investment in me! :-) Love your whys!

  7. addy says

    It forces me to start to my day. So much more productive that way. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. says

    I totally read this whole post in Shauna’s voice. Fun!

    This line: “it’s like an injection of self-esteem and self-belief” made me go YES! THAT is why I get up early and run. THAT is why I trip my way through zumba twice a week. Because my self-esteem tank usually runs pretty low, but exercise fills it up in ways I never dreamed.

    Awesome post Shauna!

  9. says

    Awesome post! And I had to laugh at being “glued to my chair, cranky and resentful as I obsessively tweaked a blog post about the importance of making time for exercise.”

    Have so been there!

    In fact, this is the kick in the pants I need to get offline and go out for a bike ride, despite crappy weather and being “behind” on so many projects. Thanks Shauna!

  10. says

    Brilliant post, Shauna, and brilliant you, Carla, for requesting it of her! It’s been so long since I even SAW my own mask that I’ve forgotten where I put it. I shall go forth and search it out after hitting “Submit Comment” – thanks for the inspiration!

    p.s. I miss the podcasts and am fully expecting a live broadcast from Baltimore in September! :)

  11. says

    Thank you so much guys and really glad to know I’m not alone with this stuff. Am going to get my trainers on and get out there walking STAT! :D

  12. says

    I do find it hard to put on my oxygen mask first, especially now that I have another baby in the house. It’s easy to get bogged down and forget to take care of myself. I can’t just up and leave to do my own thing, I have to plan. That’s the biggest struggle with having a baby – you have to plan, but the plan has to be flexible. For that reason, I think it’s a good idea to make my own list of reasons and remember them.

  13. says

    Great post!

    Live sometimes gets unexpectedly crazy, and it can be hard to remember to make oneself a priority (even if we usually do under “normal” circumstances). For me, it usually happens slowly, one workout, one “me time” at a time. But then they add up, and the results aren’t pretty. I really need my daily dose of exercise to function right. Not exercising affects my mood, my patience, my low back pain, the amount I like myself. Yes, I am definitely less likeable when I don’t exercise.

    Thanks for a great reminder!

  14. says

    I miss your podcast with Carla too, but I’d rather think that your out there with your Exercise Oxygen mask on than obsessing about online stuff and neglecting yourself.

  15. says

    “I’m sh*tscared that I if don’t do everything perfectly and immediately I’ll be outed as a fraud, get fired from my day job, all our lovely Up & Runners will run away, and the world will basically stop turning. Yeah, I think that’s it!”

    Good to know I’m not the only one who immediately jumps to the most ridiculous, out-of-control conclusions, haha!

    I’m SO lucky that I’m REQUIRED to put on my own oxygen mask. I’m a Zumba instructor. So I don’t get those, “I don’t feel like it” days. Thank goodness, because I’d be one of the squishiest couch potatoes.

  16. says

    I think I need to print out this list and hang it up on my fridge:
    why do I need my Exercise Oxygen?

    … it takes me out of my head and back into my body

    … it brings perspective and insight to whatever’s frazzling me

    … it makes me feel foxy and happy in my own skin

    … I’m miles more productive afterwards

    … it’s like an injection of self-esteem and self-belief

    … it makes me feel stronger and excited about life

    … the stronger I feel, the more wholeheartedly and generously I give to others

  17. says

    This exact thing just knocked me for a loop! I love how honest this post is and it reminds me that I need to keep up with my own health even when I am caring for a loved one who needs me right now.

  18. says

    I love how she calls them “trainers”, she’s so adorable you can just squEEze her. I kid, but I can seriously relate. I felt like she was talking about me at various stages of my career and journey losing focus on the health side because work or something else took over. It’s certainly a challenge trying to find a way to excel in all parts of life but making time to exercise and being healthy has certainly paid dividends for me in terms of energy, motivation, and focus.

    You’ve got this Shauna!

  19. says

    I have just put my oxygen mask back on as well. Of course at first it felt weird and uncomfortable but nothing beats the feeling of getting up at 5AM just to fit in my 30 minute workout before work. It’s solid me time. Some days I love it and some days like today I don’t…but I still do it. I’m on day 10 of this new habit and I plan to keep going. Thank you for the motivating words! :)

  20. says

    I feel like I go through fits and starts with exercise and I can TOTALLY relate to the whole perfectionism side of it. I’m slowly coming to realize, though, that I’m a better person when I exercise, plain and simple.

  21. says

    Shauna (& Miz) I sometimes ponder on this. If I had to prioritise I’d put blogging (writing) before exercising, but given that my ‘diet-related’ blog is based on trying to live a healthy lifestyle, I recognise the irony!

    I like your approach to the putting yourself felt analogy Shauna, cos often I see it mostly related to women who have husbands, partners, kids etc. I have none of those things so wonder if I spend too much time putting myself first. But, reading your post I realised it’s easy to put stuff on the back-burner and prioritise other more socially-acceptable things first.

    Deb

  22. says

    I love Miz and I love Shauna but I heartheartheart Miz+Shauna!! This: “I’m sh*tscared that I if don’t do everything perfectly and immediately I’ll be outed as a fraud, get fired from my day job, all our lovely Up & Runners will run away, and the world will basically stop turning. Yeah, I think that’s it!” is so me too. So afraid of failing that sometimes I’m afraid to even try:)

  23. cheryl says

    I have never, ever had a problem not being able to get out and breathe the Oxygen…(unless sick or injured, and even then I found alternatives). I need my movement just as I need my oxygen to breathe. Both equally necessary.

Trackbacks