October 2020

Self-Care Digest

Self-care is all the things, big and small, we do to nourish our mind, body, and soul.  Here's what Meredith Benton, our Vice President of Programs and Advocacy, is doing to stay grounded, rested, and connected during these uncertain times. 


About 15 years ago, I started hiking to focus on the journey rather than the destination. I try to get three or so hikes in a week at local parks and greenways. Having worked for our Tennessee State Parks, I enjoy taking my daughter to explore trails across the state. Colleagues and friends are encouraged to meet me for socially distanced hikes so that we can still connect safely in person.


Getting on a plane and flying somewhere isn’t something I am comfortable with doing in the pandemic. However, virtual work and school provided other opportunities. In August, we drove to Maine and spent a month with my friend and her husband. It was such a treat to have help with the daily life tasks. We visited Niagara Falls, watched a meteor shower in Vermont, hiked Acadia National Park, picked apples, toured lighthouses, climbed boulders along the coastline, and ate countless lobster rolls. With my sister in Florida, my family booked a home from Thanksgiving to Christmas so that we can quarantine together for the holidays. I realize this wreaks of incredible privilege and don’t take these opportunities for granted.  


For years, I’ve *tried* to have a regular yoga practice and wanted a yoga teacher certification. But I couldn’t make the 200-300 hour in-person trainings. Luckily, the pandemic forced the trainings online. So Voila! I will receive my certification by the end of year. Having a daily practice helps during such tumult. Additionally, I’ve been working with Evan Barbee to learn more about myself as an Enneagram 3. It's hard but good work and I hope that others experience me differently as a result. Finally, I’ve done a monthly reiki session with Ramona Reid that’s brought physical and emotional healing into my life.


Oprah has Gayle, Michelle, and Ava; I have Cindy, Niketa, Judith, Sophie, Kelly, and Michelle. We’ve been a support to each other for almost 20 years. Our virtual happy hours, daily text exchanges and gif sharing, and venting sessions about politics, family and more feed my soul. We connect and check in daily and find ways to be there for each other when we can’t physically be there for each other.


When the pandemic first started, I couldn’t stop reading, scrolling twitter, and checking the news for the latest information on COVID, racial equity, the election, etc. While feeling a sense of control from the knowledge gained, it was not good for me overall. I came across this graphic and have been using it as a regular check in to see where I am (A similar one about becoming anti-racist is also helpful). It then allows me to identify what I need to do to get to a healthier head space. I’ve removed Twitter from my phone and will be removing Facebook from it shortly. I am giving myself 15 minutes a day to check in on the news, focusing first on the city and state, then federal if time permits.



What are you doing to nourish your mind, body, and soul 

while practicing physical distancing? 

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Be Well!