Labor Day is today and in our family that means a day off from schooling and working. All my kids are excited about having a day off of school – especially since we’ve only been “in” school for two weeks so far. I’ve always liked holidays and the meaning behind them. I know Labor Day is about celebrating the hard workers who make up the backbone of our country and economy – but when I think about working – I remember how hard I tried not to work.
Not avoiding working in a career – I did work for several years before my first daughter was born – but avoiding hard work and physical labor during my obese years. I would do just about anything to get out of doing something physical. I feigned injury, illness or just invented an excuse to run an errand or get out of the house.
When we repainted the rooms in our house I was nowhere to be seen. Weeding the yard wasn’t my responsibility. Cleaning the baseboards was hard on my back. Packing up boxes for yard sales or donations to Goodwill wasn’t really something I did. I didn’t volunteer to run back to the car if we forgot something. I stood and waited for John to go.
I realized what I was doing. I knew it was hard work to weed the flower beds and I didn’t want to work hard. I understood that wiping the baseboards would require some physical exertion on my part and I said “No.” I knew I should be the one to walk more steps to retrieve forgotten items, but I chose not to.
It wasn’t as though I had any real physical aliment like some people do. It’s different if you really are not physically capable of doing work – but that wasn’t my case. I was physically able to work, but I chose to sit instead.
I think all that sitting did have an impact on my psyche. The more I sat down and let other people do things for me, the lazier and more apathetic I got. It was fun to sit and watch television inside the cool house instead of doing physical labor outside. It was easier to let John do the lifting than do it myself.
Did I feel guilty? Yes, on occasion I did. And to make up for that guilt – I cooked desserts for the people who helped me out. Cookies, cakes and pies were all gifted to John and other friends.
As I began to lose weight and exercise, I looked for opportunities to stay active. I found that although I still did not like weeding, I did like knowing I could and participating with the family. It was a revelation. The more I worked and moved, the better I felt about myself. It was like a slow snowball. The better I felt about myself, the more I cared about my health, and the harder I worked to get healthy.
I’d encourage you to look for chances to work. Unexpected moments of time in your day where you can be active. Choose to get up and work for a few minutes each hour. It doesn’t have to be all day – but every little bit helps you physically and mentally.
How did you feel about physically working? Has it changed? Diane