Self-Care Strategy: Get Moving!
This past month, I attended Trauma Recovery Yoga (T.R.Y.) teacher training with Joyce and Darwin Bosen. Check out their amazing program here. During this training, I was reminded of the mind-body connection – the science-backed research stating that our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes impact how our body functions and vice versa. While I have heard about this connection many times and I have experienced the benefits of physical movement in combination with mental self-care, I needed that reminder to come to a shockingly simple realization: the times when I stopped moving were the times I was least happy in my life.
As a child, I grew up in the dance studio. I dabbled with various sports throughout middle school, including cross country, track, and cheer leading, but none of them really stuck. By the time I was in high school, I was in the dance studio for several hours up to five days each week. When I was in college, I joined a triathlon team, continued to dance, and started to practice yoga. I was spending a good chunk of my free time engaging in some sort of physical movement when I wasn’t in the classroom or at work.
Therefore, it came as a shock to my system when I moved into the city after graduating and, essentially, stopped moving with this transition. I no longer had scheduled swim practices, bike rides, and dance classes. I was on my own to find a resource where I could practice yoga for free, since I had no income. As a first-year graduate student, I would spend my days hustling. I would ride public transportation to/from classes and internships, attend networking events around the city, and spend my down-time doing research and writing papers. Other than short walks from the bus or train stops to where I needed to be, I wasn’t really moving much. And, unfortunately, this pattern of behavior set the tone for most of my career.
My first job out of graduate school often required me to work double shifts, from 7 AM to 11 PM, with a 90 minute commute on both sides of my day. This means that I was either working or driving to/from work for 19 hours each day (including weekends)! As you can imagine, I was too tired to move much before or after work. And, when I had the pleasure of enjoying a day off work, I would spend it catching up on sleep and taking care of chores and errands. As a young adult, new to the work force, movement felt like a luxury.
However, throughout the past few years, I’ve come to believe that movement is a NECESSARY luxury. Not only for me, but for all people. Remember the mind-body connection? Without paying attention to both the mind and the body, we put ourselves at risk for missing signs and symptoms associated with discomfort in one or both of these areas. I have personally experienced both physical illness and mental health struggles associated with neglecting my body (and, in turn, my mind).
As a result of this gentle reminder from Joyce and Darwin of T.R.Y., I have prioritized physical movement in my daily routine. Over the past few weeks, I have spent more time in nature, deepened connections with others who are also committed to moving on a regular basis, and found more peace within myself. How have I been getting active? You may find me going for long bike rides near Lake Mead, hiking any number of trails in the Valley, or practicing yoga at a studio, in my home, or poolside (for free!) with the Silent Savasana movement.
How about you? Have you been contemplating getting back into the gym, the studio, or on the trails? Consider this your personal invitation.
Are you interested in learning more about how to prioritize your self-care? Feel free to contact me to learn how I can help.