Add Friction – Make Life a Tad Harder

My daily life is filled with modern conveniences, like dishwashers, hot running water, and electric lights. And I’m grateful for them! However, these things can also tend to make one soft and not resilient. As a programmer my job requires basically no physical exercise. I’ve tried to combat these weakening tendencies by working slight difficulties into my routine.

  1. I usually do my lawn mowing / whipper snipping with bare feet. I use a reel mower so there’s no risk of flying debris. This toughens my feet so that I don’t need shoes to walk on rougher surfaces. Plus it feels good. Sometimes in the winter I bring out the recycling / garbage in bare feet.
  2. I sit on an exercise ball at my desk. It helps improve my balance and lets me sit in different ways to switch things up during the day – sitting, kneeling, or legs crossed.
  3. I stand on one foot when washing my hands. This is an automatic habit now and promotes better balance.
  4. I do squats while brushing my teeth.
  5. I don’t bring water everywhere. It’s OK for me to be thirsty for a couple hours while working outside. When I go back in I’ll have a nice big glass of water and catch up with my hydration.
  6. If I get mosquito bites or a sun burn, I don’t typically use anything to make it feel better. I figure that the discomfort isn’t causing any issues and it’s good for me to “just deal with it”. (Now in fairness, I don’t react strongly to bug bites.)
  7. When I get up while it’s dark (much of the year in the morning) I don’t turn on more lights than necessary (e.g. for reading). I make coffee with only the ambient lighting in the kitchen. Ones eyes can work pretty well in the dark once they adjust. And it’s useful to be familiar and thus comfortable with navigating the house in the dark.

As per an episode of The Art of Manliness podcast, I tried switching to cold showers but soon gave up on that. I like hot showers too much. Call me a soft wimp but I draw the line there! 😀

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