Exercise Shifted My Balance
I love my work but if I am not careful, the pressure of every day wears me out in a blink. Often by the end of the day, I just want to slip into a cocoon and hide from the world just to rest and regroup. Most times I don’t want to look at my phone even though it is normally on silent mode. On the way home, I spend a lot of time at the bus stop waiting for a vehicle that isn’t playing very loud music as is the norm most of the time.
It took a while to realize that the intensity of my work was affecting my relationships. I mean, how do you explain all the answered calls, text messages and whatsapp chats to a friend or family member when they are trying to reach you? Most of them just couldn’t understand why I return the calls the following morning or even a few days later yet I was thinking, at least I got back to them. However, I understand that we live in an instant messaging generation and so I do understand their frustrations.
Even though my schedule is intense, I am glad we do not work on the weekends because that leaves my Saturdays open.The free time over the weekends are the most precious part of my life and I decided to spend it on the things that matter to me.
I always loved hiking but I never considered its actual benefits until I started doing it often. It started as a simple fun activity with friends with no though that it could be fun infused exercise. I had always considered exercise to be something tiring and time consuming and could not understand how people woke up early to hit the gym or run in the cold!
The limit of exercise in my life was when I would participate in organized runs several times a year because I supported the causes represented by the organizations. I would wake and run a half a marathon without prior exercise whatsoever and then suffer the consequences the next two or three days. I look back and laugh at how ignorant I was knowing now that the only way I could have done that is because I was naturally fit.
A few years ago, everything changed. I decided to run once a week intending to increase it to three times progressively, that way even when there was a run I would not struggle with sore muscles the next day. A friend of mine also started a hiking company which I joined an we started by hiking once a month, then fortnightly eventually we hiked every week. It was unbelievable to say the least and I was getting refreshed, enjoying free aerobics, connecting with like minded people, nature, and the scenery; I was now in my element.
At times I need to be up at 3am on a Saturday, yes I said 3am, in order to leave Nairobi by 4.30am and start the hike by 8am. By the time we finish the hike and get back to Nairobi it is probably midnight. Even with all this I am able to go to work by 8.30am on Monday, relaxed and very refreshed.
The truth is, one has to be very dedicated to exercise in order to receive all its benefits. There will be sacrifices to make but by the end of day they will be totally worth it. Surprisingly, exercise energizes and by the time I get home I am on high that I cannot explain that will sustain me through the coming week. The key thing to note is that, each one must find the activity that works for them. If you engage in something you do not like, you will end up tired, hurt and frustrated. Additionally, find a person or group that motivates you and you can be accountable to.
How can the activity that is supposed to leave you physically tired have the opposite effect leaving you refreshed? I do not have the scientific explanation but I am trusting it will be covered in the next write up and I will be keen to read it too.
You might be interested to note that I am no longer bothered by my phone in the evenings anymore.