On Letting Ourselves Live in a Season

A photo of a woman wearing a headscarf, shot from behind as she walks into a darkened doorway. The building is yellow and there are bright purple flowers above the door.
Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown.

Since I started going into the office most days (and thus getting a lot of exercise from my one-hour-each-way bike commute), I don't do their workouts as often, but I have kept myself on their mailing list for the little snippets of wisdom and reflection that precede each workout.

It's pretty rare to find a corner of exercise culture that is actually about holistically enjoying life and never even hints that my body should look or perform a certain way, after all.

Here's another one that I saved. It's called 3 Summer Tips for Working and Working Out. Some quotes:

"We are big fans of seasonal living here at TWT. We believe in trusting your natural energy cycle, rather than expecting to yourself to perform the same way 365 days a year, like a robot."

(This is something I am trying to do a little more: live life seasonally and cyclically, embracing the joys of the current conditions while adapting to the challenges, knowing that everything changes and circles back around at some point. Also, hooray to not being a robot. Nothing against robots, of course. I just like being a human.)

(What I really need to work on with this is adapting how I interpret the seasons. To me, summer is all light and freedom and joy and fun, and then basically everything else is dark gloom, life-sucking cold, and sadness... Hmmmmm....)

"Average pace is more important than current pace... When you're focused on your average pace, you have the freedom to flow with your energy. Bring the intensity 1-2 days a week when you’ve got the energy, and enjoy easy movement on other days to recover."

(This still implies that there is some kind of pace we should be keeping, which may or may not be motivating to you. But I do find the idea that my growth, progress, and effort can ebb and flow, honouring circumstances and energy levels. It all still counts. Anything is better than nothing.)

"Don’t let your conditions fool you. Working out in hot weather can fool you into thinking you’re not as fit as you are. Don’t let summer get you down on yourself: in the fall, you’ll realize that working out in the warmer weather actually helped you build your fitness. In the midst of COVID, remember that you are teaching yourself how to work and work out in far from ideal conditions."

(Again, there is an implication here that the payoff of living - or exercising - through a challenge is that you come out of it stronger on the other side. I know a LOT of people love that notion and get meaning from it. I do, too. On the flip side, I also love the idea that it's okay if I emerge from a tough season of life the same, or weaker. The point is that struggling when the conditions we are living under get harder doesn't mean we suck. It just means things are harder.)

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