When you “don’t have time” is when you need it most of all.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry!!!”

I’m late for my scheduled workout, rushing, frizzle-frazzled, scrambling to lace up my sneakers and fix my hair into a ponytail and fill up my water bottle all at the same time, wishing I had octopus arms to wrangle everything in my life eight times faster.

I pour out a whirlwind of apologies — crazy week, too much to do, writing deadlines, and oh, that restaurant that somehow I’m running now on the weekends. Free time: nonexistent. Sanity: tenuous.

“Are you OK? Do you have time to workout twice a week like we planned?” Justin asks me, concerned, picking up on my frenzied state of mind.

The hysterical part of me wants to say, “NO!! OBVIOUSLY I DON’T HAVE TIME!”

But the calmer, smarter part of me replies, “Yes. I have time. I mean, I don’t have time. But I’ll make the time. I need this.”

There’s an anonymous quote I found on the Internet once: “If you don’t make time for fitness now, you will have to make time for sickness later.” The same could be said for many things that we struggle to “make time” for: sleep, art projects, rest, time off, travel, touch, quality time with loved ones. Neglecting those basic necessities carries a high price tag, sooner or later.

Back at the gym: I finish my workout and walk back to my car feeling calm, clear and strong. I return to my computer and settle into my desk. My to-do list hasn’t gotten any shorter, of course. I still have a mountain of things to do. Yet somehow, post-workout, my workload feels more manageable. My gym visit didn’t ruin or derail my too-busy-day. Just the opposite. It centered me so that I could finish my day successfully.

The funny irony is that just when you think you “don’t have time” for fitness (sleep, touch, a meal, a deep breath, five minutes of quiet, etc.) that’s exactly when you need it most of all.

Hopefully I will remember that, the next time I am hysterically thinking about skipping yoga because I’m just-tooooo-busy-omg.

Taking care of myself is never a waste of time.