Exercise for Alone Time | 26

If you’re craving more of a reason to move your body a bit more, maybe this little mindset shift will work for you. …As an introvert, I’m intrigued.

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Episode Transcript

This is The Good List — I’m Tsh Oxenreider.

I’ve mentioned in my newsletter, 5 Quick Things, that the gym I joined this year recently hosted a 21-day challenge, where they gave us at-home workouts to do. We signed up by paying whatever amount we wanted, and when we finished, we were rewarded with a gift card of that amount to a local business — so it both helped us work out from home, and it helped support our local community. It was a fantastic idea, and I hope they do it again, because lo and behold, we are still in quarantine.

But it’s made me more aware of our exercise habits, and namely, whether we have any. For some of us, they’ve completely gone by the wayside since the pandemic hit, and for others of us, we’ve taken advantage of our time at home to really get in regular workouts. I have a feeling a lot of us are somewhere in the middle, which is definitely where I am these days.

Well, today in this episode I want to share with you a recent chat with my friend Anne Bogel. You may know her as Modern Mrs. Darcy, or from her podcast, What Should I Read Next. She brings up a sort-of mindset shift as one of her current quarantine Good List items, and I really liked it — as an introvert, I connected with what she said, but I admittedly had never thought of it before.

So if you’re craving more of a reason, or inspiration, to move your body a bit more, maybe Anne’s idea will work for you. Here she is.

Tsh: Ann, I want to know what is on your good list right now. So tell me what’s on your mind.

Anne: Okay. I knew you were going to do that.

Tsh: Yeah, we are.

Anne: Well Tsh, I want to tell you about a mindset shift I made recently that’s making all the difference in something that I know is good for me and I’ve been trying to get back on my nice wagon for many, many moons, like six to nine months but I’ve done unsuccessfully. But then I started thinking about it a different way and it just changed everything. I’m totally burying my lead. What I’m trying to say, I am actually working out these days and I feel so much better. I know everybody knows that they’re supposed to work out, right? And some people will actually do it. And I did have a really great routine going for a long time, but I broke that routine to go on book tour in 2018, it’s been a long time. Even though I’ve been running every other day consistently, that’s the only thing I’ve been doing. I haven’t been lifting weights, I haven’t been stretching. Ever since we started these quarantine days and I’m no longer running a short errand or walking my kid to school or any of those things, I’m sitting at my desk all the time and I’m too old to do that. My hips started crying all the time.

Tsh: Yes.

Anne: Which hurts and also makes you feel old all at the same time and it’s all just no good.

Tsh: Right, right.

Anne: But still like I couldn’t wrap my brain around that. Meanwhile, I’m an introvert living now all the time under the same roof with five other people and a really loud labrador who still thinks she’s a puppy and people are talking all the time and it’s always loud and I love them, but they keep talking sometimes to me and I just ugh, could not deal.

I finally realized that instead of looking at working out is this chore that I have to do in order for my old hips not to cry, it could be introvert time and I have leaned into that so hard lately. It’s warm enough here in Kentucky where I can go out to the garage and take my podcast, though quite honestly sometimes, there is nothing in my ears. It is just me and the silence and because I really need that sometimes after living in this household with all these people making all the noises and all their online schooling and work calls and making all the noises too, because Daisy wants to bark at all the teachers on Zoom.

Tsh: Bless her heart.

Anne: Bless her heart. She wants to be there in that classroom so bad. But even if it’s not nice, I can go to the basement or I can shut the door in my bedroom and do yoga and everyone thinks, oh, you’re working out. We should leave you alone to work out. And not only does my body benefit, but it’s just really the mental break that I have been needing. And once I started thinking about working out as introvert time, everything just changed.

Tsh: I like that you are talking about a mindset shift more than a checking the box because you’re a good responsible grownup because that’s what happened to me, basically this school year, like August, September. Somehow, I don’t know what it was, my birthday’s late August, so maybe it has something to do with that, I’m a year older, but I started thinking of working out as a treat instead of a chore. Basically this little idea of it being something that’s yay happy because it makes me feel good or because I’m taking care of myself in a way that maybe when I was a kid I would think about having a piece of candy instead of it being this is what adulting looks like, I’m going to check the box. I’m being responsible. I’m being a good role model for my kids, which are all good, but that didn’t motivate me. It’s this other, yay, I’m being nice to myself and I like the endorphins after that made me actually want to do it. I love the idea of adding that spin of introvert time. I honestly had not thought of that. That’s really good.

Anne: I relate to that treat concepts so much because now I’m flashing back to when I was little and I’d beg for workout books for Christmas. I wanted to see a hundred exercises you can do in one minute. I would go through them because it was fun because you can’t go to ballet class every night. I really liked that. You know it’s so funny, is you’re describing this, I’m remembering something that I tell people all the time on the job because I talk about books and reading, that’s my thing and if I had a dollar for every time somebody or no, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve told somebody, should is not a word that does you any good in the reading life. Nobody wants to read a book because they think they should. Just banish it from your vocabulary. It doesn’t get the job done. It doesn’t make you happy. And yet I’ve been telling myself that I should work out because I need to. Apparently that’s not just a bad word for the reading life. It really wasn’t good for the rest of my life as well. But as soon as I changed the language, it became something I could look forward to. It actually started happening the same way if you stopped selling yourself, you should read Jane Austen. But instead say, hey, maybe I could try it cause I might like it. It frees you up to do it.

Tsh: Yeah. That’s really good. What’s funny about what you said because I’m an introvert too. I have found since this whole quarantine thing has happened, that my workouts have suddenly become more social and I don’t love that. Meaning, I would take my kids to the train station when they would go to school because they take the train to school and because I work from home, I would then go to the gym and I started doing CrossFit at the beginning of this year and I would go to my CrossFit class session, whatever and then go home and get to work. And I loved it because it was like it, yeah it was other people but it wasn’t really, I mean it still felt like introvert time, but now I’m doing workouts from home and my kids want to join. My nine year old wants to do burpees next to me, my 15-year-old who I love and want to encourage her to be healthy, she wants to do it with me and that’s great. But now it’s no longer “me” time at all or just even alone introvert time. It is like rah-rah, family physical fitness time, like PE class almost. I’m a little bit envious of your setup. That sounds really great.

Anne: The thing that got me thinking of it was I realized I didn’t have that time by myself anymore. I love to have the whole house to myself and that literally has not happened for many weeks and it’s not going to happen for many, many more. But I used to walk the dog by myself and now my husband Will and I have gotten in the habit of doing it together, which I love. But it caused me to think, you know what, the only time I’m actually by myself is when I’m going for a run and I’m not a good enough runner with enough endurance for that to be longer. I thought, oh, if the only time I can spend by myself is when I’m running and in my brain was like, hey, wait a second, we can work with that.

Tsh: I love that. No, that’s so true. That’s really, really good. It’s a good reminder to me. I was telling Kyle the other day, I’m so used to having the house to myself that even, I mean like right now I am talking to you from my house. The door is shut and the kids are being quiet. They are doing their thing, their school. I am doing my work and it’s all fine, but I’m still not alone and I am craving introvert time and he has told me all the time, just go anywhere, like go sit in the car somewhere. Drive to a coffee shop parking lot and then just sit in that parking lot and, and I need to take him up on that. But I like your idea better. Just because my kids want to work out with me and I think that’s great, it doesn’t mean they have to every time. I think it’s good. I like it.

Anne: I thought maybe we could have one weekend where we do a yoga retreat in the living room. Because if I were to turn on a yoga video out in the living room, people would do it with me. And I thought, wouldn’t that be great? I’m going to think about you next time I think about doing that.

Tsh: See, that’s my life. That’s what I’m doing. We live in a tiny house like an old, 1935 small house. There really is no room to do anything by myself. But we do have doors so I could do a behind a closed door. Okay. I have to ask right before we wrap up, what are you doing then? You’re talking about yoga. Is there a practical, we can put in the show notes thing that you were doing and that you recommend for working out right now.

Anne: Okay. This is not my field of expertise, so nobody should take my recommendations, but I’m still running every other day. I’ve been working on slowly building up my endurance for a good long while now. It was actually my kids cross country practices that got me in the habit of running regularly because if I had to take them someplace to run, then I was at a place with trails and something to listen to and you got to do something. I started running and walking a ton and have just been able to maintain that habit because, by the time the season ended, it was a habit. But the thing I haven’t been doing to really fill in the blanks is using all those weights in my garage. I’ve really been focused on weightlifting and we have a rower too. I’ve been returning to the routines that I did back in my CrossFit days. Actually I haven’t done that since my youngest was little and now he’s 10. It’s been a while since I’ve done this regularly. But that is really what I’m doing. I felt like I had the aerobic component, but it was the weights component that I was missing. Some fun stuff. We have a medicine ball, we have some rings, we have some boxes you can jump on and then we have the pull-up bar and the weight set. I set a timer and make myself play with them. There is some structure to it, but keep it varied but also keep at it.

Tsh: That’s fun. That sounds like a really good setup. You have it better than I do because I don’t have that garage, but I really like how you’ve just worked with what you have instead of, oh well I can’t do exactly what I want and so I’m going to just hang up the towel, that you’re making it work with the things you have and it sounds like a good setup.

Anne: We are pretty spoiled in that aspect, but I did hit download real quick when one of our local gyms sent out this 101 bodyweight workouts that you can do with no equipment because that way if it’s really cold or stinking hot, our garage is detached so you are pretty much out in the elements when you’re working out in the garage. I knew that I could do that in my living room or actually probably in my bedroom in a tight space with the door closed these days or in the basement without any equipment at all. We have a couple kettlebells and dumbbells that I could bring inside, but I’m not dragging the weights inside, I’m obviously not dragging the pull-up bar inside. I do have some stuff.

Tsh: My gym did a 21-day bodyweight challenge thing where we would log into the app and every day we had this workout that was done that anybody could do without weights and then you log in your time or your numbers or your reps or whatever. It was really motivating and helpful and it was a good reminder to me that, oh, I don’t need fancy equipment. I can do, I mean they’re not my favorite, but I can do a lot of bodyweight exercises like pushups, you know? That does the job just fine. Especially if it’s the mindset, like what we were saying. It’s weird to say pushups are a treat, but push-ups or just bodyweight exercises as a treat in the sense of I’m not aiming for Olympic status or I don’t really care if I can impress people with my numbers. I just care about doing it because like you said, my hips, my joints, my muscles will thank me later when older and I want that endorphin release now and it doesn’t almost matter what we do. It’s just the doing is a reward in itself and that’s something that I’ve learned the older I get, but it’s still a work in progress.

Anne: I know. I find that often, I don’t know what I want until it’s right in front of me and getting back into working out in this way has reminded me that there was a time in my past when this is how I wanted to spend my leisure time, like reading about working out and how to get stronger and people who were doing interesting things in the fitness world. That is something I did with my leisure time and I just fell out of the habit and it’s been fun to start to fall back into.

Tsh: It is. It’s weirdly fun. It’s funny how we’re going back to our, not like our simpler days, but our essentials a little bit more and to me this is one of those, so that’s cool.

Anne: This feels very on-brand for the good list.

Tsh: It sure does. See, that’s why I wanted to talk about it. Thank you, Anne. I really appreciate it. You told me before we hit record that you were going to go watch Harry Potter with your kid and I can’t keep anyone from doing that. You go watch Harry Potter.

Anne: We all know how you feel about Harry.

Tsh: Priorties, man.

A little reminder that if you haven’t yet, to sign up for my free weekly email called 5 Quick Things, where I share 5 things I either created or loved from the week. Go to fivequickthings.email to sign up, and you’ll get the next weekly email that goes out on Friday mornings.

I’m on twitter @tsh and sometimes on IG @tshoxenreider, and you can also find a transcript and the show notes of this episode, and all episodes, at thegoodlistshow.com.

And don’t forget to leave me a voicemail or send me a voice recording, telling me one thing you’re doing to stay sane during your quarantine and social distancing. Leave me a voicemail at (401) 684-GOOD, which goes directly to voicemail; or, simply record your voice and email the voice file to hi@tshoxenreider.com. Just state your name and where you’re from, and what’s one thing helping you get through this right now. And we may feature it here on the show.

Big thanks to Anne for the chat. Music for the show is by Kevin MacLeod, and thanks, as always, to Caroline TeSelle and Kyle Oxenreider for their help, as well as my furry intern, Ginny. I’m Tsh Oxenreider, and I’ll be back with you in just a few days — thanks for listening to The Good List.