At the risk of sounding like Martha Stewart, I am listing some of my favorite activities to help heal your body, mind, and soul and to learn and grow.
Walk in the morning. Walk at night. Or on your lunch break. Listen to some tunes. Focus on your breath. If you have small ones, strap them in their stroller and go. But breathe! Notice the birds, the sounds of traffic, people, the breeze on your face, the sun, moon or stars, the smell of laundry from your neighbor's dryer vent.
My favorite. When I finally ran a few days after my assault, I felt so alive, so grateful, and strong. I started to remember who I was. I wasn't a "victim" in which the police, the Assistant DA, and the court officials kept referring to me. I was a survivor. I was still alive, my body still worked, and my muscles were strong. I wasn't weak! My mind cleared, the tension in my muscles relaxed, and I began to form my plan for how I would move on with my life. Running can be liberating and empowering.
Yes, walk, run, hike. All pretty much the same, right? I differentiate hiking from walking in that when I'm hiking, I'm ideally in the woods and close to nature. And I truly believe this is important for our souls. As humans, we come from the earth and we are continually connected to the ebb and flow of the Earth and it's cycles. No matter how much TV we watch or how much Wii we play or how many malls we shop, we are creatures connected to the earth of the planet and to the light of our sun. Our spirits heal when we are connected to nature. Find a local hiking trail or simply walk through the woods. Smell the air, feel the breeze, listen to the sounds of the squirrels, birds, and maybe a stream. Can you hear a woodpecker? Look for mistletoe in the winter. Try to see how many trees you can identify. Pine, maple, birch. Or there any oak trees? Are there ferns, trillium, or creeping cedar growing on the ground? The objective is to be mindful and live in the moment. Hiking in the woods can be a form of meditation and truly healing for your soul.
4. Go to church.
Or synagogue, temple, fellowship. Whatever makes sense for you. I do not necessarily consider myself religious, but I am spiritual. Whatever your faith, visiting a spiritual community and being surrounded by the people, spirit, and song can be uplifting. Being in a quiet place and listening to a sermon about current events and life challenges can help us gain perspective of our own challenges. In addition, there is the potential to make new friends and strengthen our support system. I always feel a little more at peace when I leave a service at the local Unitarian fellowship. Granted I don't make the trek as often as I'd like. After being on the go all week, some Sunday mornings it's so much easier to enjoy the peace and solitude of being at home. But I find when I do go, I inevitably find some morsel of truth that resonates with me and adds clarity to my thoughts or maybe a problem I'm mulling over.
“Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.” – Mark Twain
I dance a lot around the house by myself since I've been on my own. Sometimes my son joins in. I can play whatever music I want and turn it up as loud as I want without anyone complaining or rolling their eyes and being judgemental. Particular favorites are "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5, "Let's get the Party Started" by Black Eyed Peas, "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga, and "Superstar" by Jamelia.
Like walking and running, moving our body just feel better. And I think that dancing helps us feel more feminine and reminds us that even though we are moms and maybe dealing challenges in our life, we are still a woman.
These are just a few endeavours that you may wish to consider to help heal your soul and body. There are so many others...yoga, gardening, reading, art, looking at the stars, going to the beach.
What activities to you do to cope with life's challenges?