It’s hard for me to exercise when alone. When I’m meeting up with someone, I don’t feel the same struggles to prioritize. This morning, I’m not caring for an animal, I don’t have any meetings, no appointments. There is enough time to workout and take a shower before my next furry client needs my hugs. But, I haven’t vacuumed in at least two weeks, there is at least a load’s worth of dishes in our sink, and full baskets of laundry to wash. When I’m not expected by another person, I feel that I need to focus on housework, paying bills, groceries, meal planning, etc. Guilt seeps in and tells me that taking time to exercise is selfish, that I’m choosing myself over the needs of everyone else. I know what I’d tell anyone else who asked me. Choosing exercise is not choosing yourself over others. It’s choosing to give yourself the energy to keep going. It is a priority and should be considered as such. Unsurprisingly, it’s hard for me to tell myself this, to give myself the freedom to choose myself, my needs, my sanity over all the various tasks that scream to me as I walk through my house. Even exercising at home is not without effort, because it involves a clean floor with no clutter, no library books that fell off the couch, no blankets from snuggles during a puppy and boy pile on the floor, and no shredded boxes left from doggie treasure hunts through various leftover Amazon boxes. By the time I get to having the space ready for exercise, I’m tired and it feels like an endless circle I never can quite get out of. I can say this though—our house is lived in and there is love. It will be no less lived in and have no less love if the sink is never empty and the clothes are never all clean at the same time. My body will also still be mine, with or without an exercise today, and it will still be soft and warm to my family when they come for hugs. In a moment of truth with no mean intention, my youngest told me my body felt like pillows. Exercise is about helping me live in my body and cleaning my house is likewise to help me live in it. Neither has to be perfect, just livable. Some might say that is me giving up, but I believe this is me recognizing that surviving is a reasonable expectation. When I step outside of my body and outside of my list of things to do, I can see that the thing I really need to work on is the guilt I feel about any of these priorities.