Last week I went running for the first time in ages.
Yesterday I went to a spin class for the first time in nearly three years.
Why? Because I went with friends.
In other words I got myself a ‘buddy’. A ‘running buddy’ one evening and a ‘spinning buddy’ the other.
A buddy, in this sense, is someone to commit to doing something with. It’s sometimes the extra motivation needed to ensure we don’t just collapse in a heap on the sofa every evening.
My physical and mental wellbeing benefit from cardio exercise and mindful meditation. Yet sometimes I feel so tired I struggle to engage in these things even though I know how important they are for me. However, I also hate to be unreliable or ‘flaky’ so a ‘running buddy’ or ‘gym buddy’ works well for me. Once I commit to something, I tend to do it. So as a result arranging to meet someone for a 7.30pm run means it is much more likely to happen. Or it could just an evening stroll. It doesn’t really matter – getting some fresh air and increasing my step count, as well as chatting with a friend is a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong I love a catch up over a glass of wine as much as the next woman but sometimes it’s good to mix it up a little.
I’m sure a ‘mindfulness buddy’ would be very helpful too. A friend who has just started working through the seminal book ‘Frantic World’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman told me that she has a ‘mindfulness buddy’. They don’t actually do the formal practices together (though this would be extremely motivating and would be great if it was practical to do so), but they do text each other support and encouragement. This motivates them to regularly do the practices associated with the different chapters of the book and there is a certain amount of ‘checking up’ on each other too which is helpful. If someone is finding one particular meditation tricky, it’s also really good for them to check how the buddy is finding that week’s practice, and to bounce ideas off each other about what works and what doesn’t. I would love a ‘mindfulness buddy’ as it sounds like a really helpful way of keeping up with practice.
If you’ve read some of my posts like this one and found the tips helpful then it may be time to truly get to grips with mindfulness by booking yourself on a course (MBSR, MBCT or the workplaceMT ones that I run). However, if this is just not possible right now then having a buddy sounds like the next best thing. Anything is better than nothing after all.
So if you need some motivation to improve your physical and mental wellbeing but can’t get to a meditation group, exercise class or running club? Get yourself a buddy. They will be the impetus you need to get off the sofa in the evening.