By Lisa Peyton-Caire CEO& President of The Foundation for Black Woman’s Wellness
Summer is here and I don’t know about you, but it’s my favorite season! I love nothing more than a warm summer day under sunny skies to throw on a pair of sweats and walking shoes and to get outdoors for a brisk walk and fresh air. And with the promising signs that COVID-19 is at least tapering a little with vaccination levels increasing, we have more opportunities than we’ve had in over a year to get outside safely and move our bodies! And move, we must!
Summer is also a great time to build healthy habits while the weather is warm and schedules a bit less hectic. The habits we develop now–coming out of a year of virtual isolation, can set us on a path to staying active, fit and free all year round. So let’s take advantage of the opportunity for a new start!
In my May blog, I wrote about the five traits of a Well Black Woman. The very first trait is one of the most powerful and all-encompassing behaviors a woman can commit to:
She prioritizes her mind-body-spirit wellness!
This means, the Well Black Woman acknowledges her own value and consciously creates the space and time in her daily life to put her own health and well-being first. She does this despite the many demands on her time and energy, and she refuses to simply focus on surviving day to day, or to allow a cycle of self-neglect to take hold of her life. NO!
When we cultivate this mindset of self-care and self-preservation, it opens the way to endless possibilities for developing a daily wellness practice–starting with the bodies we live in 365 days a year! These bodies we’ve been blessed with are so powerful and resilient, with incredible capacity to heal and carry us through the many phases, stages, challenges and demands of life. But to go the distance, they require diligent care, maintenance, and movement. And this is where the fun begins!
At the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, we support women in cultivating this conscious practice of self-care, personal wellness, and movement. Nowhere is this more evident than with our incredible Wellness Ambassadors who are women who have consciously committed to living their best lives on a daily basis, and embracing all the ways to stay healthy, fit and free all year long.
Here in Madison, Wisconsin where our offices are headquartered, you will witness our Wellness Ambassadors around town walking, running, stretching, working out, and actively leading and participating in countless activities that improve their physical and mental health. Our Ambassadors are at every age and stage of their lives, from young professionals to grandmothers. They are a living example to all of us of how we can find ways to stay active year round, no matter the weather or the pressures we are dealing with.
I especially love our Capitol Walk Ambassadors who gather every Wednesday at our State Capitol building over the lunch hour to walk, talk and laugh together while keeping their hearts pumping and feet moving in service to their health. Our walkers are there to soak up the summer sun we’re enjoying right now, but they show up in the cold winter months, too, bundled up in winter coats, staying committed to their promise to themselves and each other — to LIVE!
They know that walking is a simple, inexpensive way to improve your overall health, relieve stress, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent heart disease — the number health threat to Black women. They refuse to become statistics, and many are healing and recovering from health conditions and determined not to succumb to them. Like you, our Wellness Ambassadors know that they have the power to transform their health, and that the magic rests in their daily habits and behaviors, day after day, month after month, to stay on course. And doing it together as a sisterhood of women moving in the same direction and holding each other accountable makes the journey easier. Let’s tap into this power!
Beyond our Ambassadors, all of the women who take part in our programs strive to embody the Well Black Woman, a woman who prioritizes her own well-being and puts the same effort into taking care of herself as she does others. Whether they are participating in our free virtual Project Live Well program which offers fitness, nutrition & healthy living classes–or walking on their own at home, or trying out a new activity like yoga, meditation, pilates, or strength training, Well Black Women TAKE ACTION to protect and preserve their health. You can do the same. Now is the perfect time to begin!
Staying active, fit and free year-round is a choice you can make right now, and once you do, the rest becomes easier day by day. My simple formula for getting started goes like this:
- Start small, but start. 30 minutes of movement a day goes a long way.
- Keep it simple. Stretching and walking daily is a start. Build up to more over time.
- Keep it fun. What we enjoy becomes what we stick to.
- Enlist a friend or two to join in. This helps with motivation and accountability. But commit to doing it yourself, no matter what.
- Be consistent. The more we practice a thing, the faster it becomes a habit.
- Watch the transformation begin! Your new active, fit and free lifestyle will change your life!
We’ll focus more on what this looks like in your day-to-day life and how to achieve it in my future blogs, and when we gather virtually on Friday and Saturday September 24-25 for our 13th annual Black Women’s Wellness Day! Grab your tickets today, and get ready to be inspired! Until then, get busy putting all of this great advice to work, and embracing all the wonderful ways you can enrich your life RIGHT NOW by focusing on YOU for all the right reasons. I promise you it will be worth it. I’m a living witness!