Prioritize Your Health

It seems like everyone I know is so busy right now. School is ramping up again, in-person events are re-emerging, and people’s calendars are filling up.

Looking at my calendar right now stresses me out. It seems like I have something going on every day for the foreseeable future.

Having days that are jam-packed with work and events can be unavoidable, but it’s important to still take time for yourself.

I’ve written about setting boundaries to avoid burnout before and to be quite honest, I haven’t always practiced what I’ve preached. Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve been working hard on making sure I not only take time for myself but also speak up for myself when necessary.

In July, I started getting back into physical fitness. I wrote a blog post about it a while back but haven’t talked about it here since then. I’ve been going to Orange Theory Fitness, which, for those who are unfamiliar, is a fitness studio that offers HIIT classes led by a coach. Classes are typically an hour long, and they are designed to improve cardiovascular health, physical fitness levels, and metabolic rates. The coaches explain each workout, and they motivate you to do your best each and every time you walk through the door.

These classes have been life-changing. I’ve always been passionate about exercise, but never really knew how to push myself in any way beyond distance running. Since starting at OTF, though, I’ve reached limits I didn’t know I had. Every time I walk into a class, I know I have a full hour to put in hard work and sweat out anything that’s been causing me stress. I get to forget the outside world and just give it my all. The feeling of finishing a really hard workout is truly like no other.

From the moment I walk through the doors into that studio, I know that I have a full hour to focus on myself. It’s my time, it’s my workout, and nothing else matters until I walk back out the door. Even when I was training for a marathon in early 2020—which I never actually got to run because of the pandemic—I didn’t get that feeling of pure release from the outside world. I was still training for myself, but it got to the point that I felt I had to prove something, and I don’t know if it was to me or anyone else. Honestly, that’s probably why I fell away from running once the pandemic started. With OTF, though, I know I can walk in for one hour, have the workout pre-designed for me, and just feel free until it’s over. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I don’t have to beat the people around me. I’m there for myself and myself only.

Having that kind of release is so important, and since joining OTF, I’ve noticed a remarkable difference in not only my physical health but my mental health as well. I’m less stressed, I’m sleeping and eating better, and I’m not turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms nearly as much as I used to.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been working way more than I ever have. I honestly never thought I had time to exercise or do anything exclusively for myself. After literally one class at OTF, though, I made the choice to make time. I knew it would be something I would fall in love with, and I knew it was something I needed in my life. Even on days when I’m busy from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, I’ve found I can make room for a one-hour class if it means it’s going to help keep me in a good headspace.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to find that thing that you can do exclusively for yourself. Take the time out of your day to prioritize yourself, and find that positive and healthy release. It’s so worth it.

As always, stay safe + stay healthy!


Kayla W