How to Stay Active When You Feel Too Busy

I’ve fallen into a vortex of “other things” (possibly termed “distractions” (I’m in denial)) that have been keeping me from training to climb a mountain. While Brian works on his mountain training regiment and Matt hits 6am CrossFit classes, I’m twirling my thumbs on a film set (my day job), stress eating and standing still. When I think about the work do be done, I panic. But what can I do, I wonder?

It’s really easy to get caught up with the tasks that pay your bills. We all have responsibility and most of us want to exceed our own expectations. In my panic I turned to the nearest railing and did ten push-ups against the wall. I felt better. Just a little bit better.

But I’ve deceived you – I haven’t totally been standing still while working but, compared to my usual routine of running, yoga, and strength training (bootcamp or crossfit) multiple times a week, it feels like I’m going nowhere. The classes I take keep me sane and centred and help me feel good. Without them I feel like I’m immobile, despite hustling around all day. On set, I make time to stretch throughout the day. I consciously correct my poor posture, a result of being too tired to think straight/stand straight. I obsessively plan which days and classes I’ll attend once this production I’m working on wraps. And then I stretch again.

“How do you do it?” I asked a colleague of mine who runs every evening, despite our 10-18 hours work days. This particular conversation started with him asking me if I ran last night, something he’s been asking since day 1 of prep. “No,” I replied, a bashful look overcoming me once again. “How do you do it? When we’re working 18 hour days, how do you find time to work and run and spend time with your family and…”

“You do it because you want to do it,” he said. “You do it because you’d rather run for an hour and get 5 hours sleep then get 6 hours sleep. Or you run for 30 minutes with your kid or partner or you find time with them and with your running. You do it because you want to.” Pursing my lips, I nodded. It’s that simple.

He told me that you have to want to do something bad enough that you actually do it. Thinking about it doesn’t cut it. Good intentions only get you so far, he said. You have to get up and go. Put your shoes on, and give yourself 15 minutes on the pavement. You’ll feel better, he said.

That night, as inspired as I was, I got home and was so tired I fell asleep after putting on my running tights.

When you exercise, your body creates endorphins that make you feel good. Really good. So good that when you don’t exercise, your body craves those good vibes and you feel awful. You feel guilty. You feel depressed. I’m feeling all of these things and I’m giving it up. I’m leaving these feelings at home.

In an effort to curb my “inactivity” while on a busy contract, here’s a few things I’ve drummed up during my mini breaks:

  • Dynamic stretches (arm and leg swings, body shakes and twists)
  • Always take the stairs
  • Walk as much as possible
  • Stand up every 30 minutes
  • Wall pushups (and when people see you doing these, invite them to join in!)
  • Calf raises (when standing, lift yourself on to your tippy toes and lower yourself down again)
  • Offering to carry things for coworkers
  • Constant hydration

Nothing beats getting outside, running through the trees, hiking up a hill, and enjoying the sunlight. I am grateful for all those moments I have in parks and pathways and in nature because, when I’m busy like this, I crave them. Distractions are a great way to motivate you to get creative with your body and abilities. I plan to take FULL advantage of summer once we’re wrapped here. But for now… I’ve got a couple wall pushups to do!


Do you have any tips and tricks for staying active while being busy? Let us know in the comments below!

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