This past Monday, Labor Day in the U.S., I was sipping my coffee, and using the downtime to catch up on some reading. Alone, in my kitchen. In complete silence. It was literally the perfect morning for a professional woman who would normally be fighting commuter traffic.
I pick up my just-delivered copy of Fitness Journal to read an article on motivation. I love that topic because it’s something that EVERYONE struggles with. Even people in health and wellness careers. FYI – We don’t all jump out of bed ready to run 10 miles. This article caught my attention as I’m always looking for ways to motivate my clients. Bonus – the article is specifically about motivating inactive women. Even more relevant to some of my clientele.
The article centers on a study published in BMC Public Health journal that interviewed both high-activity and low-activity women regarding their physical activity, perceptions of exercise and if/how they prioritized exercise. They found that in the low-activity women there was a feeling that exercise was SELFISH. Yes, you read that right, SELFISH. Because it took time away from their families, created stress in their lives and required too much commitment. In addition, exercise was perceived as something that required intense effort and therefore wasn’t contributing to their desire to feel relaxed.
This made me sad. As someone who fancies herself a “high activity” person, I’ve never looked at exercise or general self-care and wellness as selfish. Never have I thought that my 30 minute jog or 45 minute spin class was detrimental to my family or created stress in my life. That’s probably due in part to my spouse’s support of my career in wellness and his desire for me to be healthy and happy. However, I can see where a high-performing, career-driven, ambitious and successful woman would absolutely feel that way. Society has told working women they can have it all but that “all” usually means putting everything and everyone ahead of their own needs. Work, family, employees, community commitments, pets, etc. come before us. So, while I thought it was absurd that a woman would think that focusing on her own health was selfish, it made absolute perfect sense when I sat with the idea for a few minutes.
When I finished the article, it got me thinking about how I could change that perception. I refuse to accept this as the norm and just focus my efforts on the high-activity clients who have lots of motivation. In fact, the low-activity clients need me more and I’m committed to being an advocate for them, and providing solutions.
If you find yourself among the low-activity or less motivated group of exercisers or you see prioritizing your wellness as a selfish act…listen up. Here are 4 ways to put your health and wellness first without feeling guilty or selfish.
At the end of the day, you will be better in every aspect of your life when you are healthy. Your family, your employees and your clients cannot benefit from your awesomeness if you are unhealthy, unhappy and unproductive. Align your wellness efforts with what you care about most and everyone wins.
Originally published at roadwarriorlivewell.com