I have a reasonable amount of discipline when it comes to exercise. And so I should. My job is movement.

But I can still fall prey to the type of lethargy that keeps drawing you back to the couch. On my recent visit to Seattle I found myself spiralling into this state of sedentary lethargy. I was in a small space with a moody child. It was cold. I had terrible insomnia (eek! that return Covid Test!). All reasons to let myself off the hook. Even knowing that a quick workout would help my outlook and energy levels.

My usual go to tricks, so often useful, were not working this time.

  1. Start doing something that feels great and is easy and you’ll naturally want to move more. I often start with a Side Stretches with a focus on breathing. (See below for video with mini movement ideas).
  2. Just do something mindless and energizing (2 mins of Jumping Jacks) and then, only then, think about making a plan.
  3. Turn movement into exercise. When I walk to the park (or elsewhere), add marches or running on the spot. Waiting in the park I can  run up and down the steps or do lunges. I’m there anyway. (I do realize that if you don’t have a kid or dog, you may not often find yourself in a park).

They all failed and it felt pathetic.  I’m supposed to be a movement ambassador!! But a layer of guilt is rarely helpful.

What worked in the end was this psychological self chat that I often give to my child.

Pick your stress. The stress of pushing yourself into what you don’t feel like doing and the related (seeming) injustice of never allowing laziness, or the stress of slipping further into lethargy, and the feeling of light depression and fuzziness that can come with that.

We can pretend that languishing on the couch is not stressful. But we do pay in the end. So the choice is not between a happy laziness and a miserable work out. It’s between the stress of doing something you don’t want to do and the stress of not having done what you know is good for you. 

So yes, I did a short Pilates workout and then added a few sprints up the stairs at the park. And felt much more alert and calm. It was not such a big deal after all.

A lesson learned, and relearned so many times.

Laura Helsel Gauthier
Pilates Process director
Writer, Blogger, Presenter