Self-Care Challenge (Day 157): Working to Physical Exhaustion

On day 157 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I worked to physical exhaustion.

Sometimes I think physical labor is a lost art.

We’ve become so used to modern conveniences, that some people don’t even have to leave their bed to earn a living. Our industrialized culture has made life easier with the development of time-saving and labor-saving technologies, but it has also limited (and sometimes eliminated) the need to exert physical effort.

Instead of walking, we drive. Instead of harvesting vegetables from our garden, we have them delivered to our doorstep. Instead of caring for our own property, we hire landscapers. And all so we can spend more time at the office.

After running errands on Saturday morning, my husband and I worked in the yard until dusk. We made repairs to outdoor buildings, hauled mulch and straw, and finished up various home projects that had been lingering on the to do list. (And let me tell you, bending and crouching at nearly 40 isn’t as much fun as it was when I was 20.)

By the end of the day, though, we were completely exhausted. Everything hurt and we looked like zombies clinging to the handrail as we climbed the stairs to bed.

We slept like babies.

Oddly, the physical exertion felt good. As much as my body ached, it also felt really good–better than any gym workout I’ve ever experienced. Perhaps it was because I accomplished something of value. Perhaps it was because spending time outside in nature was emotionally therapeutic. Or perhaps it was because it also allowed me to spend some quality time with my husband.

Maybe it was a combination of things. Either way, it seems that physical exhaustion is underrated.

The physical activity reminded me that my body was designed for exertion. It was designed to move, and to accomplish meaningful things.

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