By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager
As the daughter of a Marine, I have been in training my whole life to be as resilient as possible. I can safely say that the skills I honed through mini drills as a kid are guiding me and I am doing pretty well navigating these uncharted waters as we practice distancing and sheltering-in. I pride myself on resiliency. But like all humans, I crack sometimes. Today I had a mini-break and I let a situation get the best of me. I didn’t follow my own rule! I call it the 50/50/50 rule. There is zero science to my rule and mathematically, it does not add up, but it works for me! To navigate life’s changes, you have to give it your all…it’s 50% eating healthy, 50% exercise and 50% using coping skills for stress triggers. That’s right—it takes 150% effort to find your resiliency through the unknowns of a pandemic, a divorce, a job change, etc. This is no time to toss in the towel and use the pandemic or any other life change as an excuse. However, it is also a time to give yourself a little break and this is where the 50/50/50 rule takes shape:
50% Healthy Eating: We all know what healthy vs. unhealthy is. However, we also crave comfort foods when we are feeling off course. Most of us are not going to tackle a diet right now. In fact, we’ll probably snack more often than usual. We just need a balance. For every plate I make, I try to have 50% of it covered with a fruit or vegetable. So cheese and crackers on one side and grapes on the other. Chips on one side, salsa on the other. Pretzels and hummus on one side- raw veggies on the other. You can easily get 5 plus servings of fruits and vegetable a day and folks… that is how we build up our stronger immune systems! Not only good for fighting off illness, but good for healthy minds and brains! And of course water, water, water! Tip: this only works if you eat the fruits and veggies – they cannot be a decoration or garnish. 🙂
50% Exercise: It’s hard enough when the health centers or the walking /bike trails are open to motivate ourselves to exercise. So what do we do during this current pandemic? We give ourselves a little break. Repeat…little. I have committed to doing 50% of what I normally do just to carry me through until I can get back to my wellness routine. So as a person who exercised an hour daily… I have cut it back to 30 minutes a day. I walk outdoors when I can. I google up Pilates and yoga on my TV and follow along. I add squats and lunges into my housework chores. I get outside and do yardwork. I can manage this goal and stick with it. Exercise is simply movement. And as long as you’re moving, your body is staying strong. Strong bodies equal strong minds! Strong minds handle stress better.
50% Coping Skills: Stress happens. This is where most of us crack. Everything is coming at us at once and we react, as I did this morning, by thinking we need a solution to everything at once. Well, that isn’t happening these days. The strategy that works for me is to take all that is coming at me and reduce it to 50%. Yup. I let the other 50% go on the back burner so I can stay focused on the 50% that I may be able to find a solution to. With daily changes, it’s impossible to have all the answers and often the answers change anyway. Meditate or pray on what is most important and focus your energy there. Sometimes, the other 50% you put on the back burner gets solved while it’s simmering. If anxiety gets the best of you, try taking some time for yourself to journal, communicate, research, meditate, listen to music, do a virtual museum tour, watch a good movie or take a nap.
Resiliency is not a sprint, it is a marathon. It takes 150%. This is a good time to slow down and give yourself a little break so you can stay strong and finish the course with triumph.