How Standing Up Can Change Your Life!
When you’re lying in bed, blankly staring at the empty ceiling or being buried under the crushing shallowness of your social media accounts, feeling the dense and oppressive weight and vastness of the world wash over you, feeling as if you have no place or value in it, near or far... get up. GET THE FUCK UP! I don’t mean that in a metaphoric, self-helpy, “The power was inside you all along” movie of the week kinda way. I also am not telling you to just, “Get over it.” or “Look on the bright side and stay positive.” Being sick, being sad, having depression, etc. is real. Your feelings are real. When you’re feeling them, you can’t simply, not feel them. So what then?
Get up! I mean it in a very literal and very simple way. GET THE FUCK UP! Stand up. Even if you have nowhere to go, just stand up. Perspective is an interesting thing. It dictates nearly everything everyone does, thinks and feels. I’m not talking about comparative suffering perspective, where you say you’re cold and someone goes, “You call this cold!? I’m from Whereeverthefuck and it’s like 70° colder there and I wear cargo shorts every day.” I’m talking about perspective. The way you view something from where you are in relation to that thing. Perspective.
Standing up, IS changing your perspective. Even if only physically, it’s a place to start. And starting is often the most challenging and daunting aspect of wellness. How do I start? Where do I start? When do I start? Am I well enough to work on my wellness? What if I can’t do it? What if I make mistakes? Do I deserve to be well?
After you stand up, take a breath. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve taken your first step and that is something to be proud of and excited about. Congratulations. Now go have a shower. A cold one! You stood up, out of the muck. Now go wash it off. It’s amazing what a cold shower does for you. There is the platitude of water being very cleansing, which it is, but there is something else going on too. The shock of cold water increases your circulation, heart rate, and oxygen intake, which quickly and intensely improves your alertness. It reduces inflammation as well. Cold water is also great for your skin, hair, and muscles. The other element here is that you accomplished something. I know it doesn’t seem like much but it’s something. All things gather momentum. I mean just look at what we’ve done so far. Simply by standing up, we found our way into the shower and now we’ve already begun working on our health and wellness. You said you were gonna do something, made a plan and now you’re doing it. Pretty neat, right?
So now you’re up and you’re clean. Next step is to go outside and take a walk. Doesn’t matter how long. Around the block, a mile, 10 miles. Doesn’t make a difference. There’s no structure here and this is not your workout. It’s a walk. It’s a lovely, leisurely activity where you get to be in the world. Not viewing it on a screen, not overthinking it in your mind, but actually being in it. Don’t look at your phone or listen to music. Don’t buy things either. Just walk. If it’s super late or you live in a place where it’s not safe to walk but you can drive to a place where it is safe to walk, do that. Allow whatever thoughts you’re having to run their course. Don’t hold onto them, don’t fight them, don’t question them. Just allow them to be.
Now, I said this isn’t a workout and I meant it. This isn’t a, “I’m walking to get buff.” walk. It’s just a walk because there is more to your life than work, school, internet, and money. There is intangible goodness in simply being in the world. Luckily for us, there is also very tangible goodness too! Walking improves your cardiovascular system and increases your blood and oxygen circulation. It strengthens your muscles and mobility. You’re breathing in fresh air and taking in the amazing and necessary nutrients from the sun. (If it’s not sunny, you’re still doing great and I’m so proud of you!) This is also one more thing you are doing and accomplishing. YAY! On your way back home, put together a couple of things to do next. Maybe it’s clean the apartment, read the book, wash the car, write the paper, meal prep... whatever. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a massive laundry list. Just pick a couple things that you CAN DO and that will be helpful to your life. Then, when you lock the door behind you… do those things. Just like you did the other things. Practice not thinking about finishing them as you’re doing them. They will get finished because you are doing them. Just exist in the process of it all, with no pressure or anticipation of what comes or doesn’t come next.
Wellness is a creative endeavor and that means it doesn't matter where you start or if you're doing things “perfectly.” It only matters that you start. With that in mind, your wellness can be fun and exciting. Something beautiful and passionate to be curious about. You can and should practice giving yourself permission to move forward. I know so often in our lives, we wait to be given permission by other people to do things. It starts at birth and continues in all of our institutions. But you aren’t doing this for other people, you’re doing this for you. It’s okay to be curious here. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn and grow here. It’s okay to not be who you were and practice being who you are and who you want to be.
BUT YOU HAVE TO STAND UP.
Be well. Do good. Peace.