May 23, 2021 – Virtual Runs & Nature Walks
Welcome to my Self-Care Sunday’s B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog post. A couple weeks ago, I discussed the top five reasons self-care is important, followed by 10 tips you can do to maintain proper self-care, and top five ways you can support those special females in your life. Last week, I decided to break down the 10 Tips You Can Do to Maintain Proper Self-care and focus on one tip each week to give extra pointers on how to manage self-care at least one day a week, for me it’s Sundays.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
The main reason I have opened up this self-care space on my blog is to help us pay more attention to our mental health. While I have Health Saturdays open to discuss physical health, I have dedicated Self-care Sundays to discuss ways that I manage my mental health so that others can see examples of strategies that work for me, might be something that can work for others, too.
May was the perfect month for me to start my blog as it is our National Mental Health Awareness Month. I found this out when I signed up for a virtual run during the May of 2019 Be Kind to Your Mind event, donated to a mental health nonprofit, completed a walking race on my own, and received a medal for completion. See the May 2021 Virtual Run Events, including the May 2021 Be Kind to Your Mind event (see pic above). There are a couple other run/walk in-person events I have participated in for other causes, starting with my first (and only) half-marathon in downtown Los Angeles, CA (see pic above). Then a 5k in Anaheim, CA, and one in Vancouver, WA, for American Heart Association (pics below).
Virtual Run Events
I have opened up about my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) disability causing not only a tremendous amount of physical pain, but also lots of different mental health suffering. I am working on making my physical activity fun to help with my mental health. My doctors have informed me that any physical exercise should be limited due to pain and inflammation, but what I do find, I should make it enjoyable so that I can stick with it. This is where I found Virtual Run Events for charity.
At least once a month, most of the time twice monthly, I sign up to participate in a virtual race event that supports a great cause. Each race I complete on my own time, pace, location, submit my results, and a beautiful medal is shipped directly to me. I count this as a win/win situation because I am helping other people through monetary donations and helping myself with proper physical and mental health care.
For each race, I choose to WALK using super comfortable and supportive shoes with medical inserts to keep me balanced and reduce pain (see pic below). Since hiking, jogging, and running are difficult for me, I pick a park in my neighborhood within a few miles, and try to walk a bit further each week picking up my pace to improve my progress. Below is a picture of my Asics Women’s Running Shoes with gel cushions and my medial shoe inserts.
When I walk on my Virtual Run Events, I like to call these my nature hikes because I stop and take pictures and videos of all the beautiful nature I see. The fresh outdoor air, gorgeous nature, and a little bit of exercise combined is a great way to stay on top of my self-care both physically and mentally. Mostly on my nature walks, I collect pictures of amazing flowers and trees that I eventually want to fill up my own botanical garden, and they also make great painting subjects (see pics below).
Thank you for reading,
Dr. Jaime Brainerd, Ed.D.