I’m walking down the hallway at my gym/club, hearing my sneakers squeak, and looking around to see what’s happening at 7 a.m. I love seeing the sign “No cell phones in the gym,” because my time there is my quiet time, uninterrupted by the outside world. A bit of an oasis even. It’s quiet and I get to slow down my brain a bit and read while I ride the bike. The bike and reading are my reward, after I’ve done the harder, less interesting part of my routine.
I also love seeing the tennis players as I walk down the hallway, because they are inspiring. I played tennis for years into my 20’s until knee problems shifted me to other exercises. At the club, the majority of players at that hour are in their 60’s, and there’s a group that’s closer to the age of 70.
Book-ending this morning scene are the moms with kids, and a few dads with kids. I see them as I’m leaving the club, walking down a different hallway, showered and ready for my day. Moms and kids, running around, lots of noise – and many talking about how late they are running. Different energy. Different experience in my morning.
I can feel the difference in my early and later experiences in the hallways of the gym, can you?
Later, it’s faster pace, more hectic, everyone already ramped up and falling forward into their days. Earlier, it’s a calmer world, gently waking up to our day, perhaps even working in some reflection time.
On the two days I don’t go to the gym, I try to recreate this calm, this anchoring, this gentle waking up – because that’s what works for me and is what’s necessary for me – a big component to my self-care.
The exercise has the added benefit of getting more energy and more of the cobwebs out of my system, and does it more quickly than reading and other approaches. I just read a reader’s question on Women with ADHD which asked if others wake up in the morning with a blank slate. Ah – My issue is never a blank slate in the morning! I strive to slow down my thoughts enough so that I can ground myself for the day. Exercise works. Reading is pretty good. Quiet time is useful.
Which way works for you? What is your usual morning routine? What does your routine need to DO for you? And is it doing that? If not, observe yourself tomorrow morning and your regular routines or rituals. What works? What’s not working? What do you need and how could you rearrange your morning to get some small piece of your own oasis, however you define it?
With appreciation to my coach for working this through with me.