I was stressed about getting a paper done for my 9th grade English class. It was late in the day and I was tired, but the assignment was not finished. Being type A that I am, I want every task I start to be "finished" and finished well. But this particular evening, my brain felt like it had hit a road block.
My mom suggested, "Set your alarm for 5am and finish your paper then. It will be very quiet in the house at that time, and your brain will have had time to rest and reset." I thought she was crazy (as many high-schoolers often feel about their parents!), but I didn't know what else to do. Little did I know that this simple event would be a defining moment for me.
I woke up the next morning groggy but determined to finish my paper. I read over where I had left off and went to work. My fingers flew across the keys and paragraph by paragraph I finished my paper before the rest of the house was up.
Now what's the point of this story? Looking back, it wasn't until that early fall morning that I realized how awake and alive I felt in the morning. Over the years since, these early morning times of quiet have served to be such a blessing--from times of productive studying and finishing assignments to devotions and sweet snuggle time with my toddler. I'm surprised though that I never considered until this #LWGG30Day Wellness Challenge that this would be a great time for me to workout.
Going for a walk or bike ride in the early morning not only nourishes my muscles and joints, but these quiet moments nourish my soul. I've found that the days I am able to take 30 minutes or so to exercise in the morning, I have so much more energy and a better perspective for the day. I will also admit, being very type A myself, I love being able to check off my workout first thing of the day on the ever-present to do list running through my head.
We are halfway through this Living Wellness 30 Day Challenge, so I wanted us to have a "check in." Time to write up a progress note. In my day job as an occupational therapist, I'm constantly assessing and facilitating progress. In a similar way, we need to do that with our wellness goals. In the first post of this challenge, I mentioned that I wanted to 1) spend at least 1 minute a day nourishing my body with exercise and 2) spend 30 minutes at least 3 times a week exercising. Looking back through my pictures, I've kept up with those goals!
Both goals have been beneficial, but honestly the first goal has been most impactful. It's kept wellness on the forefront of my brain. Throughout the day, I would think, "How can I get a little time in my day to nourish my body with exercise. I remember that on the day Ashley was in labor (see our Facebook page for pictures of baby!), I wasn't sure what I'd do for exercise. Taking a snack break in the hospital lobby, I saw a long flight of stairs. Begrudgingly, I set down my snack and started walking...3 flights up and down my attitude changed from dread to joy (some of that could have been endorphins). I was thankful that I found a way to nourish my body even in a hospital. And you know what? During another break that day, I was back at the stairs doing another round just because I was excited to nourish my body.
I want to end with a few take-aways I've had these past 2 weeks while participating in this wellness challenge:
- Even though I'm spending energy to work out, I have more energy...much more!
- I've found a few different types of exercise I enjoy which is a big change for me: early morning biking, any type of workout in the pool, using one of the pre-made workouts from Living Wellness for Growth Groups with my husband, and dance parties with my toddler while jamming to Veggie Tales.
- Though I haven't met my long term goals, I feel stronger and healthier. Even something as simple as bending down to get laundry from the wash to the dryer is easier!
- Although hesitant to admit, I look forward to the next time I am going to exercise. It's exciting to see my progress and feel myself getting stronger.
- Not only have I nourished my body these past two weeks, I am developing a habit. My hope is that this wellness habit I've started will last much longer than these 30 days.
How about you? Please share in the comments below or on our social media how this challenge has inspired you! Maybe you didn't join in with this challenge, but can you great your own with a family member or friend? Feel like you need a little more support than that, consider joining a Growth Group or becoming a Living Wellness Facilitator to lead your own Growth Group.
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
Caitlyn J. Hanson
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.