Here in the Locker Room, we talk a lot about fitness.
Go figure, right?
We spend a lot of time talking about the core principles behind a great workout plan, ways to make fitness more manageable and less complex, and easy-to-follow programs like the current DIY Workout Plan.
All of this is helpful of course, but here in the Locker Room we also talk a lot about appropriately prioritizing fitness.
For many people, this means bumping up fitness a few rungs on your priorities ladder, while recognizing that faith, family, and ministry belong on the top rungs above it. Fitness is a tool used most effectively when it is stewarded, but not worshiped.
Besides fitness, there are many other tools that you can add to your “wellness tool belt,” which is what we’re talking about here today.
They aren’t fancy, and they aren’t revolutionary – which is the exact obstacle we often face when implementing them. In a world full of sensationalism and click-bait, we’re in constant danger of forsaking the basics – the essentials.
Below are 5 ultra simple, ultra helpful non-fitness things that you can focus on right now to help make everything else a little easier and a little better.
Here’s to the essentials! 🍻
1. Focus on taking a Sabbath
We’re going to start with the hardest one on the list. Coincidentally, it also happens to be the most important, IMO. What exactly is a Sabbath? Traditionally, it’s a day of rest that God instructed the Israelites to take after working the other 6 days of the week. In modern speak… the Sabbath is still a day of rest to take after working the other 6 days of the week. At a certain point, it doesn’t matter how well you eat, how much you sleep, or how great your workout program is – you will not be able to “out do” working 7 days a week for any length of time. You might be able to debate whether or not the Sabbath is still a command for us today, but it’s certainly a wise thing to do regardless. In the modern church, this is often watered down to the level of taking a “mini-Sabbath” each day, something like a 30 minute break at the beginning, middle, or end of each day in order to build your relationship with the Lord. While this is a great practice, this is not the kind of Sabbath gift that God has given us. Rather, I advise all of my clients to follow in the original Sabbath design and take a full day off of work – including their vocation, and often their workout program too. There is nothing so refreshing as having a full day of intentional rest that’s dedicated to God Himself!
2. Focus on getting enough sleep
This is another popular recommendation that is often thrown to off to the side. For parents like us, it’s not always an option to simply decide to get *more* sleep. Before we dismiss that idea entirely, though, I would encourage you to examine your current pre-bed time routine. Do you spend any time scrolling through your phone and social media feeds right between dinner and going to bed? If so, exactly how much time do you do this each night? This mindless scrolling is the main culprit behind hours and hours of precious, lost sleep. If you know that you’ll have to wake up at a certain time each day, than you’re only other option is to work on mitigating the factors that unnecessarily push your bed time later and later. On top of all this, the next best thing you can do in this sleep arena is working on getting *better* sleep – even if you can’t get *more.* Better sleep is often a function of the bed you sleep on, the temperature of the room you sleep in, the position that you sleep in, your pre-bed meals, etc. A quick Google search can yield plenty of helpful ideas about how to get better quality sleep, which is wildly important for accomplishing all of your non-sleep activities during the day!
3. Focus on a personal hobby
Personal hobbies are often the first thing to go when couples get married, and when they start raising kids. This is often done in order to adjust to the new time, energy, and priority requirements of marriage and parenthood, but it’s so sad to see so many people throw out their passions for good. Do you have any personal hobbies that you love doing right now? What do you enjoy about them? I have a few key hobbies that I’ve carried through each stage of life, such as reading, language acquisition, puzzles (sudoku!), and cooking. Oh, and working out too! The extent that I’ve been able to commit my time and energy to these hobbies has ebbed and flowed with each life stage, but I’ve made sure to keep them at a high enough priority in order to not lose them completely. Hobbies like these are great ways to fill and enjoy the time outside of work, sleep, and family time. These can also help you maintain an identity of self, rather than feeling like each task you do is simply to keep the machines of work and family moving.
4. Focus on a family hobby
Even more important than any personal hobbies you might cultivate, creating a hobby that you do as a family is a great way to build oneness with your spouse and kids. Growing up, my brother and I were always enrolled in a sports team – either soccer or baseball – and this was always so much fun for the whole family. At home, we loved playing outside, playing card and board games, and cooking. These family activities are the source of many of our best memories as kids, and they helped us grow closer together as a family. Do you and your family have any hobbies like these? Building a relationship with your spouse and kids is so important and has both immediate short-term and lasting long-term benefits to your family’s well-being, and this can be ignited with some family-centered hobbies. In our family right now, my wife, daughter, and I love going on walks around the neighborhood, playing at the park, cooking, and learning Spanish together.
5. Focus on going on walks
This one often intersects with the point above! Walks make for excellent family activities that are low-effort, low-stress, and are good for body and soul alike! Walking is an underrated tool in the fitness community because we tend to get so focused on highly specialized, highly intensive workouts that we brush off anything outside of these parameters. Sometimes, though, super general, super low intensity activities like walking can be a great supplement to an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re walking inside or outside, alone or with company, to a destination or lapping your neighborhood block, walking can be a great way to clear your head, breathe some fresh air, see new sights, meet new people, listen to a podcast, get your body moving, relieve workout soreness, increase your TDEE, reduce bored snacking at home… Shall I go on? Walking is great, anytime and anywhere!