Taking the Stairs

Friday was a good day. Living in Northern California, I have been waiting for clear air (or at least not “unhealthy” air) so I could go outside again. Specifically, my spin studio closed in the last round of gym closures and then, innovatively, took all their bikes up to the roof! I got so excited when I heard about this, but the air did not make me want to ride.

Friday was my day. I showed up to the studio and they pointed me to the roof. As I walked up to the elevator that goes to the 8th floor rooftop, I saw that there were also stairs leading to the roof. Well, I’m here to exercise! As I walked the stairs (I was winded around 4), I was remembering the many times I have been on jury duty. Jury duty is when I solidified my commitment to stairs. Stairs are such an easy place to get a little workout. So every time we had a break from jury duty, I went down the stairs and outside. I went upstairs to the cafeteria. Stairs! Broke up my day. Gave my head a rest. I can’t always do a 45 minute workout. But I can take the stairs.

I have a client who is working on weight loss. Her action step is 5 minutes of cardio twice a day. She often ends up doing more. She is working with what she’s got. She reports being clearer during the day, feeling more energized. And she is losing weight. One small change, connected to a lot of other changes.

I think sometimes we define “self-care” in this rigid way. That we have these preconceived “rules” about self-care, what it is and how best to DO it. I would suggest the more effective way to approach self-care is to ask yourself WHY? Why do I want self-care? What will be different when I take care of myself? Maybe your WHY is more energy, more balance, more happiness. From there, you might then ask the question WHAT is self-care? What is my unique way of caring for ME?  I think the notions swirling around me about what self-care is “supposed to” be contributed to such a limited view of it that I could not see all the other possibilities. I could not see what was best for ME.

I really hate exercise. The shelter has made it tough to find any exercise that would work for me. But I looked. And I kept looking — because exercise affects my energy and my emotional well being and my mental clarity – 3 separate areas of self-care. I discovered that variety was good. I started swimming. I don’t like it, but…variety. I did Zumba. Dancing is fun. Sometimes I just danced to my own playlist. I tried P90X. All different things. And I am trying them still. Being flexible. And…my spin studio is on the roof!! (http://www.Team-Ride.com Huge shout out for flexibility and innovation to the women at Team Ride in Sacramento!) Music and enthusiasm that feed my soul. Another self-care category. (For the categories, see my prior self-care blog – http://www.mclarencoaching.com/self-care-now-more-than-ever/)

So I went! There was a breeze. We were under an open air tent. All precautions in place and 6 feet apart. The sun was coming up. And I felt my muscles again. Got sweaty again. Got to be outdoors and see the Sacramento trees. When I left, I felt happy. Tired. Sweaty. Worn out. As I walked across the roof, I saw the elevator going down and thought, “What the heck.” And I took the stairs.

Are you ready to find your WHY for self-care?  To find your unique WAYS?  To take time to yourself for one weekend.  Join me at the BAWLR virtual retreat.  Yeah, you heard me right.  Just one more innovative way to take care of yourself when you need it most.



About the Author

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Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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