This post is by Joanne Wu.
Move Time is hard for me to write about because I’m still in the cyclical three steps forward, two steps back pattern of making this a consistent daily routine. It’s hard not to feel hypocritical writing about a rhythm I’ve been well intentioned to fit into my daily life for the last four years, but yet haven’t “succeeded” in the way I had imagined. However, I’m hoping that sharing my journey with Move Time will inspire another person who also feels frustrated with herself for being in the same hamster wheel of “to move or not to move”? To you, dear reader, you are not alone. I’m struggling to move too.
When I write about “move time”, the definition I have in my mind is, “time intentionally set to move my body more than my body wants.” This definition has made move time an actual goal I can meet, but it took three years for me to get honest enough to arrive here.
Four years ago, my definition of move time was “a workout,” with the unspoken goal to get back to my pre-pregnancy body, never mind that that meant trying to lose thirty pounds after having not had any workout regimen for that last ten years. Also, as much as I wanted to enjoy it, I didn’t enjoy exercising with my kids all around me. Exercise should help me de-stress, but doing it with my children who were then - all 7 and under - was more stress inducing. Honestly, the me four years ago was just trying to function with sleep deprivation while nursing on demand, so I was really unmotivated. Move time felt impossible to tackle, like another lens to see how I had failed in life, until I realized move time didn’t have to mean a “work out.”
Two years ago, I started incorporating walking into my life rhythm. This practice was inspired by Ann Voskamp’s vulnerable sharing on Instagram Stories of how she keeps showing up to move because movement helps process grief. This idea of how movement helps us move through grief was a game changer for me. Up until this point, I was under the impression that I had to be happy, or at least feel happy to get myself moving. And since I rarely wake up in the morning feeling excited for a new day, I felt that by default, “move time” was out of reach. Moving to help move my body through grief, through sadness, through overall pessimism? I can do that. In fact, I need to move. So hence, the revised understanding of move time as “to move my body more than my body wants to move.”
This new definition is helpful for me because there are days when simply choosing to get out of bed feels like I have accomplished move time. On my better days, a thirty-minute walk in my neighborhood is the push I need. On my best days, I search “Grow with Jo” on YouTube and choose a workout to move with—because she is real, and I have found her videos both inspiring and fun. For example, a twelve minute dance workout with Gospel music? Yes please! A cardio workout to boost mood and anxiety? How did she know? With her workout videos, I can even invite my kids to join me. They are so fun to do together—and it also helps that they are all older now and I don’t have to worry about milk leakage.
For the last few months, my move times have fluctuated between celebrating getting out of bed and taking walks in my neighborhood. This week, I’ve managed to move with three “Grow With Jo” videos. My motivation to move with workout videos was reignited because my youngest daughter saw my yoga mat and asked, “Mommy, what is that?” Without knowing it, she held me accountable to keep moving.
Move time is not about me trying to get back into shape. Instead it’s about me moving through negative feelings and celebrating accomplishing one thing my body didn’t think she could do just a minute ago. Move time is increasingly becoming a consistent rhythm in my daily life because the choice to move gets me out of my head and present for the day I’m given. I am now able to see Move Time as a gift rather than a burden.
The day is not over yet. What is one way you can move today?
Joanne is a SoCal native who currently lives in Taiwan with her husband of fifteen years. She is a mom to five beautiful children and one faithful Golden Retriever. She appreciates free time to take walks, sleep, and slowly eat her food. She shares about how she finds grace in the midst of everyday mess on Instagram @mom.of.wu .
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
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