I woke up this morning realizing that I was the only human in the house with two dogs. Okay, who am I kidding. I plan my days in advance; I knew the predicament I was in when my head hit the pillow the night before. I was too tired, and I really didn’t want to think about it. I’d figure out the two-dog-dilemma in the morning. I think I was kind of in denial; I was secretly hoping for rain, problem solved! But the rain held off until the afternoon. Problem. not. solved.
We have a canine houseguest this weekend. Over the weekend, my DH and I took some lovely walks together with the dogs; we each had one.
But then Monday arrived, and I was on my own with the two boys. One guy is a strong, somewhat reactive, 135-pounder, and the other is a 65-pound adolescent who has “forgotten” how to loose leash walk. Both are joys to walk, but both need attention in their own way. There is no way I would attempt walking these two guys at the same time. I believe a walk with a dog is for exercise, stimulation, and training. You can’t train two dogs at the same time, trust me. I knew the solution, but I kept pushing it away. Two dogs + one human = two separate walks. As I laid in bed, and the room got brighter, I realized I couldn’t push it or them away for much longer; the big guy was resting his 12-lb-head on my chest, the teenager was giving me a puppy-lick facial.
I got up and faced the realization that I would be having a longer than usual workout that morning. There was no way around it. Both dogs need their time and exercise. Plus, the rain WAS indeed coming. How unfair to not get them out while we could get out. They love their walks. Our morning walks with our dog are usually about 30-40 minutes long. My body and mind would be doing double exertion. I just wasn’t sure I had enough spoons.
But guess what? I did it! I was really proud of myself. It seems like such a small thing to be able to do, but your life and even your thinking changes when you have an autoimmune disease. Your body doesn’t always react or respond like you want it to, like it used to before you got sick. But there I was taking brisk walks in the sunshine to invigorate my body and soul! (This is one of my daily morning affirmations by the way.) I had energy. I had strength. I had stamina. On each walk, I purposely chose to not only focus on my walking partner but to also take in the beauty around me and drawing in deep breaths of clean crisp air.
What was I dreading? The extra energy that would be used? Perhaps I worried I wouldn’t be able to physically do both walks without any pain? I think I was also unsure about the aftermath. Would I just crash and burn after the two walks? Yes, I feared all those things, but my body was feeling good, so I knew my hesitations were all in my head.
I proved a lot to myself this morning. I managed to do both individual walks with the dogs. My body was feeling good both before and after. I realize that sometimes we just need that extra bit of motivation. Because even though I was clearly physically capable of doing those walks, if I hadn’t had our houseguest, I wouldn’t have done it. I really believe those of us with chronic illness (for me, it’s lupus) develop new kinds of strength from battling disease, and we are able to withstand and do more in different ways. However, there are some times when our belief in ourselves runs thin. Sometimes the fear makes us hesitant to try pushing ourselves. Sometimes we need the motivation to come from the outside. And sometimes that motivation is in the shape of a furry little beast.
What’s your outside motivation? What gets you moving when you think you can’t? What helps you to push yourself in healthy ways?