Reminder to Be Physically Healthy

Maybe it’s because the weather where I live is in the mid-20s this morning, when I looked. Maybe it’s because the Texans experienced devastating lows last week. Maybe it’s because I’m longing for warmer weather where people are out and about.

This morning I woke up with physical health on my mind.

In 2006, during my horribly failed job search, I literally would roll out of my bed, walk a few steps to a recliner, and sit there until dinner time. I’d go to the bathroom, and maybe the fridge, but my life had become just about 100% sedentary.

It took years to recover from that physical neglect. Muscle atrophy is a scary thing… not to mention lack of pushing your cardio system.

I did this because I felt that doing anything other than a job search was cheating on my family. Seriously, that is what I thought. I needed to find a job, and recover our income, so I could pay my bills. If I chose to do anything other than get that next job I was cheating my family… and maybe my future.

I learned I was indeed cheating my family, but not because of my focus. Neglecting my physical health had long-term implications. And so with this post I want to remind you to take care of your physical health. I think the saying that resonated was that you better take care of your body, or your body will take care of you!

Garbage In, Garbage Results

My son’s friend told me “you get abs in the kitchen, not the gym.” What a profound statement! As a job seeker you feel like you want need comfort. Comfort foods are great at satiating, but don’t give your body comfort. Please, please make good food choices. You need to be your best for an interview, or when you are networking, or even just to keep your head above water during your daily routines as a job seeker.

I’m not going to tell you how eat, or what to eat, but donuts should generally be on the naughty list while fruits and veggies likely belong on your binge-all-day-long list.

Motion Is Lotion

Four years ago I kicked a heavy bag (aka kick bag) and broke my ankle. Lest you think I am a seasoned kicker, this was probably my first really hard kick where I completely neglected form (hence, the broken ankle).

So a month or two later, after surgery, I’m at the physical therapist, pretty much getting beat up. He said this phrase, “motion is lotion,” and I loved it. We need to move. Our bodies were made to move. When we move, our body reacts well (unless you are in a bad place). Movement is not only good, it’s necessary.

I have this dream that when I have time and money I’ll be like Tom Hanks in the Da Vinci Code movie (side note: the book is WAY, WAY better than the movie)… remember at the beginning of the movie Tom is swimming laps in the pool? My dream is to have lazy mornings where I can swim laps at my leisure. But I didn’t have a gym membership, and swimming takes too much time before/after. I had some weights, but weights only go so far for me… I just didn’t have what I needed to get a good workout.

Or did I?

Really, you need some kind of resistance… gravity works well for that. And most of us have access to gravity.

I don’t care if you choose yoga or walking, but I invite you to choose either of those. I got to a point where I needed to walk. I had to. I felt that if I didn’t I would go to a really bad place, physically. My legs ached, my weight suffered. I’m not a runner, but I can walk. SO I started to walk. My goal was 500 miles in a year because, well, I can walk 500 hundred miles, and perhaps I could walk 500 hundred more (get it?).

That year I walked, I think, 353. It wasn’t 500 but it was enough to jump start my journey back to health. I lost weight, felt way better, gained muscle in places I didn’t know I needed it… it was the most amazing thing I’ve done physically, ever. Consistent walking, whether it’s 1/4 mile or 3 miles, is the key. Almost every day I’d walk. I invite you to do the same, even if it feels slow and meaningless.

Mental Health Is Critical to Physical Health Is Critical to Mental Health

I’m not an expert here but I know that what happens between your ears will have a significant impact on your physical health. And what happens with your physical health can have an impact on your mental health. These are usually and strongly connected.

I’m not saying you can exercise yourself out of mental health, or that you can think yourself to better physical health. But improvements on one side can help the other side.

When I was in the deepest part of my depression, and feeling an utter failure, both my mental and physical health suffered. One of my favorite ideas is that self discipline creates (or improves or helps or whatever) self confidence.

This didn’t mean doing 1,000 pushups. Maybe it meant doing ONE pushup. Or walking one mile. Or choosing one healthy meal. Self discipline leads to a feeling of “okay, maybe I CAN do something right!” Stacking a few, then a bunch, of small wins leads to “I can” instead of “maybe I can.”

As a job seeker, you need to be on your game. You can’t be filled with maybes and “I’m not good enoughs.” You need to perform at a higher level. People can tell when you are down, and they are hesitant to introduce you to their networks or recommend you to their companies when you are out of sorts.

Guard Your Physical Health

So that’s my reminder. I give you permission to take care of yourself, EVEN THOUGH you feel like you don’t have the time. Make the time now or you will HAVE TO in the future. Trust me, it’s better to do it now than do it when you HAVE TO.