Sticking to a Workout and Wellness Plan When Life is Hard

Beth in rowing 1 exercise, arms reaching away from body holding weights. Wearing teal top and black leggings.

Written by Beth Sandlin

September 2, 2021

These past few weeks I’ve been struggling, HARD. The kids are back in school and considering  it’s been a year since I’ve worked full time and run the business. I envisioned this: 

The perfect schedule where things came with ease. My time would no longer be so fractured and fitting in Workouts and Wellness would be a breeze. (oh yeah, I bet no one told you that movement professionals can have just as challenging of a time making workouts a priority).

I figured this was my first school year EVER that I was working from home and the kids were in school. (I thought that was going to happen last year, but COVID swept the globe).

Here’s the funny thing about time, no matter what, it can be challenging to prioritize. I even remember this pre-children when I was working full time in a Pilates studio. Rewind further back to college when I wasn’t working full time at all. Each one of the stages came with its own challenges and I had to move with workouts and wellness in a way that made sense at that time.

Back to today, this transition has felt like too much. And skirting around the edge, I’m fully expecting more adjustments to be made. 

Right now my kids are in school full time (somewhat), we are managing a busy sports schedule, and don’t ask me why I’m snack mom too. On the business side of things, there are some transitions we are navigating too. Life overall has felt like too much, and I’ve felt like I’m just holding on. 

And the thing is I KNOW this is nothing. I can rationalize this in my thinking mind:

          Beth, you had cancer and were fighting for your life. 
          Beth, you’ve experienced deep loss and depression. 
          Beth, you had such horrible complications from a surgery that you couldn’t even cuddle with your kids. 
          Beth, this is nothing, but it is something.

My body and brain I have to honor. It has a hard time comparing what I’m going through now to the past. It simply doesn’t care. It is fully housed in the present while being influenced by the past. And this is how the body works. It cares about right now, perspective is hard.

What has kept me from spiraling into depression has been my Workout and Wellness Routine. And yet, I know for some many people this can be another thing that is added to the to-do list making life feel more overwhelming rather than offering support and a space to clear their minds, unwind tension and just feel better. 

A consistent Workout and Wellness Routine makes life easier, not more challenging. In addition we know that workouts can flood the body with feel good energy, aka endorphins, and I’ll take as much as that as I can right now. 

No matter my life stage, I’ve relied on two components for my personal workout and wellness routine.

  1. Follow a workout plan with flexibility.
  2. Small, simple strategies and shifts.

This doesn’t offer quick results or even the promise that it’s always going to be perfect. What it does do is allow you to work with where you are now, focusing on the present. 

Follow a Plan

Decision fatigue is real and can lead to inaction or endlessly searching for the perfect workout, wasting your precious time. When you know what workouts you’re going to do, it makes it easier to show up for yourself. 

Flexibility is necessary because some days I’ve had to change when I do a workout and how much time I can workout that day. This doesn’t make me any less committed to my health. It means I am more committed. I’m not going to let a new schedule throw me off, but I am going to adapt and make it work. 

Even 10 minutes is beneficial! 

Small Strategies

Small is powerful and I wish I can tell you workouts were my only path to supporting my life. They aren’t and I’ve also never been an all or nothing person. 

In college my first attempt at shifts in what I ate was adding a frozen veggie mix into my pasta sauce. It was quick, simple and just what I could afford. Since this time, over 20 years later, I’ve continued to make small shifts. Trying a new recipe, and if I like it, it goes in my keep book. Leaning into mini-movement breaks throughout the day and taking time for myself with a meditation practice. 

I experiment with new simple strategies when I’m not in a place of overwhelm. 

Right now, I’m relying on the tried and true. The recipes I know I like. Making a meal and freezing half so that I don’t have to cook on another night. Forcing myself to get away from the computer and take a break. 

Not all days or weeks are perfect. But this is about being consistent in a way that feels in alignment with what you need right now. 

This is what has worked for me for a LONG time. 

So even though now feels like a bit too much, I hold onto my Workout and Wellness Routine because I know it’s supporting me. 

Because here’s the thing, I know if life were different I could live in that fairytale land and I wouldn’t even need to think about following a simple plan and making adjustments. 

But that’s not life. It’s doing what’s best for you right now. 

So step on that mat and move!

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