Coffee, Cardio, Community, & Christ
I am a public health professional, and let me tell you, the phrase “self-care” is one of my absolute favorites – especially during this crazy COVID season! When you look up self-care on Google, the first definition that pops up is, “….any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate, and self-initiated.” Making the choice to drink a glass of wine after a long day of work? Self-care! Making the choice to use bath bombs? Self-care! Making the choice to go to daily mass? Self-care (and just a good choice all around)!
Self-care tactics are critical for us to be healthy individuals, and health is not just about physical wellness! It’s not just how far we can run or how much weight we can lift; health also includes the habits we create and repeat day after day that comprise our complete mental, physical, social, and spiritual well-being. For me, I have four main self-care tactics – coffee, cardio, community, and Christ.
Mental Health Boost – Coffee
Is there anything better than a warm cup of coffee in the morning? Ask Lorelai or Rory Gilmore and they will tell you “No!” Having a warm cup of coffee in my hands as I’m reading the news or starting the work day gets my day off on the right foot and gives me an automatic mental boost!
What is your daily or weekly mental health boost? A few ideas include lighting candles, listening to some good music, doing a meditation, or spending time outside.
Physical Health boost – Cardio
I know this may sound crazy, but running is my favorite thing to do. For me, there is nothing more freeing than putting on some running shoes and just taking off. Lately in my postpartum state, I haven’t been able to run quite like I used to. Instead, I choose to walk many, many miles a day….My Apple Watch tells me sometimes six or seven, because when you have a baby and dalmatian, you have to get out of the house! Cardio not only keeps me in shape, but it also has a plethora of mental health benefits. Self-care tactics do not exclusively have to be in one category, and better yet if they touch on many!
What is your daily or weekly physical health boost? A few ideas include going on long walks, lifting weights, making fruit smoothies, or using a replenishing mask or replenishing body lotion.
Social Health Boost – Community
I am very introverted, yet know that God created us to live in community with one another. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is so easy to isolate oneself. However, please do not do this! One tactic I have taken to live in community with others and boost my social health is the formation of The Monica Ministry (TMM), a ministry that writes about faith, marriage, and Natural Family Planning (NFP). The two girls I created the ministry with have become two of my closest friends, and TMM is an online community of 1,000+ women looking to learn more about the faith and how to get their families to heaven. TheSundayMonday is another example of a wonderful community in which women get to share faith tactics in all aspects of life – work and nonwork related. Communities come in various forms (friend group texts, church groups, etc.), but make sure you find one that fits your needs and puts you in relationship with others.
What is your daily or weekly social health boost? A few ideas include calling or texting a friend, writing a letter (I just started having an elderly pen pal in North Carolina during the pandemic), joining a book club or Bible study, or writing a blog piece for TheSundayMonday.
Spiritual health boost – Christ
Last but not least, I want to share my spiritual health boost with you – Christ, Christ, Christ! Choosing Jesus each and every day should be our biggest self-care tactic, for Jesus loves us more than we could ever imagine. Allowing his bountiful love to engulf us will leave us feeling full and our healthiest, happiest selves. A life without Jesus is a life that is empty, and we will always be searching if we do not let him in.
What is your daily or weekly spiritual health boost? A few ideas include making a concerted effort to grow closer to Christ this Advent, reading scripture, attending daily mass, or praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Please take care of yourselves this COVID winter! Find self-care tactics that work for you. Most importantly, choose Christ, and everything will seem merrier and brighter this Advent.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
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Raquel was born in Indiana and lived in the Midwest for 22 years. She is an alumna of Saint Louis University, and after getting married the summer after undergrad, journeyed out of the Midwest to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) at Yale University. She now lives in DC with her husband Quintin, son Joseph, and dalmatian Lilo and works as a Member Insights Associate for a healthcare company.