By Jessica Stueve
When I think of health and wellness, the first thoughts that come to my mind are exercising and eating a well-balanced diet. Which have been two aspects that I feel I work hard to maintain and uphold every day. However, there is so much more to this idea of wellness. When 2017 came around, everyone was posting their New Year’s Resolutions. I thought long and hard about goals I wanted to set for the New Year, but I could not find that one thing that excited me. I plan to graduate from Physical Therapy school, start my first full time job, and plan a wedding for 2018! Wasn’t that enough? Wouldn’t this consume my time already?
It wasn’t until a few weeks into January that I realized my goal for 2017.
My best friend from class shared with me that she picked up a magazine titled “Mindfulness” by the New York Times at the grocery store. She offered it to me to read and I soon made reading it into a bedtime ritual. I would read every word on every page little by little each night. This magazine discussed healthy sleeping habits, meditation, being present in the day, and many other topics. The articles offered supportive research backing up these ideas and how one may start to incorporate this practice into their everyday life.
The month of January already felt consuming and left me feeling very overwhelmed. I had my Doctoral Defense quickly approaching amidst being full swing in classes, preparing for graduation, and the National Physical Therapy Examination. Not to mention, the days were dark, short, and cold. I found negative thoughts quickly filling my mind each day. “How was I going to accomplish all of these tasks today? Another item added to my ‘to do’ list? Was this list ever going to be completed?” It wasn’t until I read this magazine that I realized I needed to consciously make a change to my daily routine.
Therefore, I started a positivity journal.
Each night before bed, I would reflect on the day and write down one thing, person, or activity that I was thankful for that day. This allowed me to end each day on a positive note and remind me that there’s more to life than this crazy PT school life.
Since I added this addition to the end of the day, I decided that I needed something to add to the beginning of each day as well. Therefore, I decided to allow for 3 minutes at the end of my morning work out to lay on my back with the foam roller along my spine and my arms out to each side to give me a great, opening stretch. I set the timer on my phone for 3 minutes, close my eyes, lay there, and allow my mind to be at rest. Somedays I think about nothing. Other days, I set goals for myself that day. I think about what I want to accomplish and how I’m going to get myself there in a positive manner.
I find that these 3 minutes feel more like 30 seconds.
And afterwards, I feel a sense of gratification. I’m ready to conquer the day!
These two additions to my everyday life have allowed me to begin and end each day on a positive note. I have found that this makes me feel more confident, energized, and thankful each day. I full heartedly believe that incorporating mindfulness into my daily life has allowed me to stay grounded and live a happier and healthier lifestyle. Life is all about balance!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica believes that relationships with the people surrounding you is the key to a happy and healthy lifestyle. She earned her Bachelors of Science at The University of Dayton and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at The Ohio State University.