Self-care is imperative during these challenging times as it fuels your inner resiliency. For me, my first line of self-care includes daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes. Staying active provides many physical benefits, as well as critical emotional and mental health benefits. My favorite days are those spent running with my Stroller Warrior friends—I love the community, the company, and the support! I also thrive when combining physical fitness with family-fun. Recently, after a long day, my family packed up for an evening at the beach with dinner ready in the cooler…it was a pleasant change from the PCS unpacking/building IKEA furniture routine. I had zero intention of running, but when we arrived, the kids decided they were no longer hungry and sprinted into the ocean. My husband suggested I go for a run, and I am so happy I did! Originally, I only planned on a 20-minute “out and back” along Folly Beach. This was my first-ever beach run, and I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. However, after some adapting to the new sandy terrain, I finally settled into my “running zone” as I paralleled the waves crashing in with the tide, watched families enjoy a coastal sunset, and by making quick stops to gather unique seashells for the kids. The run was a moment of peace and reflection— it provided some much-needed self-care!
Practicing resiliency is not isolated to physical activity, there is much to be gained from self-reflection too. In addition to 30 minutes of daily exercise for self-care, I handwrite a small journal entry at the end of the day. I was introduced to this practice while taking a graduate course; the professor challenged everyone in the class to keep a small handwritten daily journal— listing 5 things throughout the day that brought joy. The professor emphasized the importance of committing to this practice of handwriting in a journal to promote self-care, and as a mechanism to build resiliency. After 30 days, handwriting in a journal becomes a habit; after 70 days handwriting in a journal creates a pathway to your brain…a pathway to positive thinking. At first, I thought I would stop keeping my small journal after the initial 30 days. However, I was wrong…here I am one year later still completing daily entries, all handwritten. If I am having an off-day, I pivot my thoughts to one of the better moments recorded in my journal. Additionally, my journal entries often notated my daily exercise. I was continually grateful that I made physical fitness a priority. I even took my journal entries a step further and began recording my daily exercise routines. I noticed that I gravitated towards certain strength exercises over others. These observed exercise patterns resulted in better planned workouts the following day with diversified movements— this drove me to vary my strength training regiment, and it helped me decide when it was time for a bike ride or walk instead of a run.
So, what does my daily entry look like? Here is an entry from last week:
1). Got my first sip of coffee in the morning while it was still hot.
2). Squeezed in a 30-minute running-based workout with my youngest kiddo.
3). I had just enough rice to put into school lunches for the kids.
4). Placed a few books in the free library on the street.
5). Chats with friends from around the globe.
- 1.25 mile run (around the neighborhood to the track)
- 5 rounds of:
- 400 meter run
- 10 kipping pull ups
- Walk home to cool down
I hope these two practices are a welcomed addition to your self-care toolkit!