One Step at A Time

I was exhausted last Friday. It felt like torture.

After teasing us with a spring-like temperature, melting ice and glimpses of green grass on Wednesday, Mother Nature changed her mind on Thursday and delivered a snowstorm – during the evening rush hour.

I watched in horror as my car did a slow-mo, relentless slide into the back of the white BMW stopped in front of me at a light. I yelled out, “Stop! Stop!” with my foot jammed down on the brake. Mercifully, with mere inches to go, there was no horrible bump or ensuing trouble for both me and the other driver. Never has so much gratitude emanated from a vehicle – mine. I couldn’t stop saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” before driving ever so carefully home through thickly falling snow.

By the time I made it upstairs to my apartment I felt utterly drained. So much so that after doing my evening prayers and chanting (more gratitude!) I went to bed without eating dinner. And although I had my usual smoothie for breakfast in the morning, I couldn’t face the thought of eating a proper lunch and just snacked on seaweed toasted in olive oil. At least it gave me some minerals.

And as for working from home that morning… My brain watched as I put quotes together to send to prospective customers, but I may as well have been typing hieroglyphics because it couldn’t comprehend the meaning of what I wrote. Ditto for phone conversations. Stringing words together in intelligible sentences to communicate in ways I’ve done countless times before became challenging in the extreme.

So I went for a walk.

The temperature was about -8 °C. But the sky was blue and the winter sun shone. I didn’t walk for long, probably 10 to 12 minutes.

The person who returned to my apartment to work couldn’t have been more different from the one who had left a short time before. This new me was clear-minded, upbeat and energetic. The word “miraculous” came to mind.

But how come I had the fortitude to go for a walk instead of taking a nap? Enter YouTube.

While watching a James Clear (the habit-meister) video a while back, I learned something that astounded me. He said (and he had research to back his claim) that if you do something positive for just 46 weeks out of the 52-week year, by the end of the year you will be 10 times better in that area than you were at the beginning. Ten times! And that includes taking the weekends off!

Then Universe sent me some more inspiration to encourage me. (Thank you, Universe!) This time in the form of a New York Times article titled Walking Just 10 Minutes a Day May Lead to a Longer Life. A study on close to 5,000 American adults published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, found that if most Americans started walking briskly for 10 minutes a day, then potentially 111,000 deaths could be prevented, annually. Hundreds of thousands of deaths likely averted just by people going for a daily brisk walk!

Throughout my adult life, I exercised sometimes, but I could never keep it up indefinitely, because I felt that if I wasn’t doing a rigorous workout it wasn’t worth it. No pain/no gain was the mantra back then. But I don’t like pain.

Last winter I determined to go out for a walk for 20 minutes every day because I read that was the effective thing to do. I didn’t keep it up for long. Twenty minutes outside in a Canadian winter can be really unpleasant, especially when you have Raynaud’s disease (a disorder of the blood vessels that causes decreased blood flow to the fingers in response to cold).

But 10 minutes I can handle. Easily. It’s short enough to be exhilarating in the winter. It fits into my lunch hour on work days. And by New Year’s Eve, I’ll be 10 times stronger and fitter than I was on New Year’s Day! 🙂

My thanks to Genessa Panainte on Unsplash for the photo!