A Tool You Don't Use Is Useless

So, I joined the YMCA this week.

We’re really blessed in that we now have a beautiful facility in New Albany  that’s right on my way to work.  So I signed up Tuesday, worked out about 15 minutes, showered and managed to get to work on time. 

Over the holiday, it became abundantly clear that over the course of December, my depression had slowly crept up and taken over again. It tends to do that; one month I’m fine and dandy, and a few weeks later I’m struggling to get out of bed daily. 

I don’t know why I continue to be surprised and caught off guard by a condition I’ve been diagnosed with for most of my adult life. One would think I’d have gotten better at recognizing it by now. At any rate, over the holiday break, Chris and I had a couple of really productive discussions.  He was gracious, but I could tell he was getting really concerned about me.  He echoed my feelings for most of the first year after his diagnosis of diabetes. It’s hard to watch someone you love just flat-out refuse to manage a health condition you know could kill them if they let it go long enough.

So I’m going into this wellness project without any particular weight loss goal and without the scale being my enemy, because it’s genuinely not about getting into a size 6.  It’s about adjusting my borked-up brain chemistry.  

I’m doing a few other things as well that have worked well for me in the past.

A big theme for me this year is going to be “application.”  I’m a person who is in permanent beta. I’m always learning. But what I don’t always do is dedicate a focused period of time applying specific new knowledge for a particular outcome

So I end up with an overflowing toolbox of shiny strategies, tactics and tools that never get much use. 

I know exercise helps me focus, helps maintain my brain chemistry in a happy zone, and gives me the energy I need to take on everything else.  So that’s a tool that I’m adding to the “apply with consistency” list. 

Still working on the rest of the list.  Will let you know how that goes.

What about you?  What are you hoping to apply with more consistency this week, month, year?


  1. ·

    Unfortunately, the nature of depression, in my experience, is that it’s sneaky/gradual and sometimes hard to catch.

    I’m planning to use my 11 for 11 ideas to build some better habits.


  2. ·

    I think you must be right about the sneaky/gradual nature of depression. Good luck with building those new habits; it’s hard work!


  3. ·

    Sorry to hear that December got you down, but there’s just something about the holidays. Even when we theoretically enjoy them, theybrings up so much stress, family issues, end-of-year realizations (of the “Oh crap, I still have to do…” variety), etc. Even when, objectively, everything is good, I just feel off in December.

    I decided to get back to my exercise routine at the end of November, because I didn’t trust myself to leave it for January again. So far, so good. I’ve been working really hard to just finish things – big and small – whether it’s work, errands, or even books. There’s so much in the back of my mind nagging me because it’s sat undone for the past year or two, and I want it gone.


  4. ·

    Working in the kitchen is my place of zen. But to work in the kitchen I have to have ideas flowing, and they flow readily while I’m busy exercising. Somehow between the stretching and the leg presses my brain goes off in a creative place and comes up with ideas. I don’t question it.

    So what I plan to do is exercise to feed my creativity. And that creativity will feed my belly, so it’s a win-win-win. 🙂


  5. ·

    Pete – Good on you for sticking with the exercise through the holiday season. I agree that it’s a difficult time of year on the whole. You have a good thought there with the benefits of finishing stuff; I know the “open loops” I have right now are adding stress, because when I finish something, even a small thing, I can feel a weight lift.

    Charles – For me, writing = the kitchen; so it’s very telling that I didn’t really post here much last month. And I have a similar relationship between creativity and walking that you do with working out. Really, your scenario is a positive feedback loop, because feeding your belly gives you back the energy to keep exercising. 🙂


  6. ·

    I’m with you about the blues. It’s not fun. I thought I’d get serious about exercise, joined a gym, got on a treadmill and now I have a torn meniscus in my knee (needed to look it up on WebMD). Now, I’m scheduled for arthroscopic surgery. I’m a little bummed, a little scared and a lot put out because of this setback to my grand plans.

    1. Kat French

      OUCH! A torn meniscus is a big deal, Ken. I hope the surgery gives you some relief. In the meantime, I guess you could focus on diet and nutrition–I always find it hard to change both my exercise habits and my eating habits all at once.

      Also, I met a lady in the sauna at the YMCA who had knee damage (she’s a rural postal worker). She said that she was able to do the water aerobics during recovery.

      I know it’s not the “manliest” exercise ever, but on the positive side, I always feel a little childlike glee at getting to swim in the winter.


  7. ·

    Thanks, Kat. I’ve heard varying stories about recovery time from knee surgery and my orthopedic guy tells me if I’m religious about my leg lifts it’ll be a huge help with recovery.

    If it’s gotta be done, it’s gotta be done.


Leave a Reply