Striving to Maintain Wellness: Staying active & making time for yourself is especially critical during a crisis

Taking care of oneself can be hard even in the best of times. When the world is in the midst of a global pandemic it can be even more important. But it’s also harder to make sure you are taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.

Women Who Lead spoke with several leading women about what wellness means to them and how they try to practice it in their lives.

Lynne Brick

Lynne Brick

Lynne Brick, Brick Bodies

Brick said it’s a juggling act to maintain your wellness. But she has several keys to follow.

The first is to know you are not alone. Even if you have to connect with people virtually, finding others who are trying to do the same thing you are is strong.

At the same time, she stressed taking care of yourself first. “Put your oxygen mask on first,” she said.

Finally, be realistic with yourself. You can’t take care of everything and can’t take care of everything at once so follow the divide-and-conquer concept.

Especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brick said, we are “alone together and together alone.”

While she helps run a health club and fitness company, Brick’s background and education in nursing come through in her approach too. She said she often pulls out her old nursing process of assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating.

Physically, she said, any bit of movement is better than nothing. But she’s also just as concerned and focused on the mental and emotional aspects. She and her husband, Victor, started the John W. Brick Mental Foundation about 3 to 4 years ago after her husband’s brother fought mental illness.

She hopes that one thing that comes from the COVID-19 crisis and the social isolation is that mental illness will get even more attention.

“This is going to shift how people treat mental health,” she said.

One of the foundation’s goals is to change the approach to treatment, from straight medication to a well-rounded approach that also accounts for the physical aspect of the patient. The foundation believes there are five key areas for treatment: proper exercise, proper nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices, a caring support system and the traditional health care system.

Mary L. Hastler

Mary L. Hastler

Mary Hastler, Harford County Public Library
Hastler said via email that to her, “wellness is pie chart, and each segment is fluid. Currently, my wellness pie consists of family, work, physical, mental and spiritual and my goal is to keep it balanced. The segments start out equal each morning, but as the day goes by, certain segments may grow or shrink depending on what is happening.”

She also talked about how wellness means taking care of yourself before you can take care of others.

To Hastler doing things she enjoys doing is critical, even more so in difficult times like the current crisis.

“Being active has always been part of my happy place through sports, dancing and music,” she said. “I prioritize working out on a regular basis with functional training including kickboxing, aerobics, weights and yoga. It is important to me for both physical and mental reasons to stay active. I read for fun and love spending time with family recharging my batteries. It is important during difficult times to spend some time on things you love and make you happy. It helps to keep you moving forward.”

Mary Teddy Wray5CMYK_webDr. Mary Teddy Wray, Laurel Bush Family Denistry
For Dr. Wray, a single mother with three children, it’s about balancing her time and family time. While one of her children is in college, she’s still busy moving the others to their activities — at least when they are happening.

But she still carves out time for herself. “My alone time is early in the morning,” she said. She tries to go to the gym a few days a week and also enjoys ballroom dancing.

Spending time with her children is key for her. Recently she and her kids decided to groom their dog since the groomer is closed. She said it was an experience as they tried to hold the dog and trim its hair. But they did it.

Lambert, PatriciaMF29Patricia Lambert, PK Law
Lambert sees wellness as both physical and emotional. She says it’s important for people to make sure they feel safe and connected and have someone to talk to.

Given the current situation with the COVID-19 crisis, Lambert personally has two things she focuses on. She thinks a lot about gratitude, and she also likes to put this into historical context and perspective. She said she’s thought about those that might have been living on the Great Plains in the 1800s or during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. “We will get through this,” she said.

“Sometimes there is a catastrophe or pandemic,” she said. “The idea is to get to balance and to create time for what you need to do and what you want to do.”

Maria Harris Tildon

Maria Harris Tildon

Maria Harris Tildon. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
For Maria Harris Tildon, wellness means trying to stay active and positive. She said she still tries to run five times a week. She’s also trying to limit just how much news coverage she watches now.
“Being in a healthy and positive state of mind, which for me is dependent upon staying active and working out on a regular basis,” Tildon wrote via email. “This has been particularly important as we are all hunkered down at home. The ability to get out for a run or walk has been like therapy for me. I have been encouraging and reminding my team to similarly carve out time for self-care, which I believe will be critical to weathering this extended stay at home period.”
That’s been key for her as the company has been working with various officials during the COVID-19 crisis. But it’s work that she said has been rewarding.
“This work has been hard but incredibly rewarding in that we are seeing firsthand the power of collaboration. Knowing that we are leaving no stone unturned to protect our citizens and neighbors makes it easier to sleep at night,” she said.

Women Who Lead This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Women Who Lead: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Women Who Lead (formerly Path to Excellence) magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Women Who Lead.