Especially in the midst of this pandemic. There’s a push right now to put life on pause to do things that enhance our mental and emotional state. Our routines have been altered, which is affecting our ability to care for ourselves.
I’m a huge proponent of self-care; so much so that it’s now integrated in my lifestyle. Over the years I’ve incorporated many rituals and necessities that produce joy, euphoria and a state of just being.
Running has been my go-to for over a decade. There’s an indescribable feeling I experience when I’m purposely using my legs to power me forward. There’s a wind I create that reminds me that I’m strong, fierce and courageous.
Tapping into a love for running has heightened my love for the outdoors. It’s always been there as that was my favorite place to be growing up. However, adult life crept in, and the amount of time I was able to spend in nature started evaporating. So, I adjusted. And I added indoor activities that provided me with space to get lost in the moment. On that list includes doing puzzles, coloring, making jewelry and dancing.
Outside is where I thrive though. The clarity I receive when I’m in the elements, chilling, is unmatched. When I’m inside too long, I get this suffocating feeling. I have a need to be outside breathing fresh air, listening to birds and watching animals do animal things.
It’s so refreshing!
And it’s the very reason why I’ve recently added a new branch to my self-care tree – bike riding!!
Can you hear the excitement in my voice?
It all started with a conversation with my friend, Beth, who’s more like a little sister. I was talking about how I’d been wanting to get a bike for years. There was no reason why I hadn’t purchased one other than I hadn’t purchased one. She told me that she had a spare bike and it was mine, if I wanted it.
*insert happy dance*
A week after the conversation, I went with her and her son on an adventure around town. She rode her yellow “beach cruiser,” her son on his green, superhero bike, and me on my lavender “beach cruiser.” It took me almost five minutes before I settled in on a surprising thought. I hadn’t ridden a bike in at least 20 years! I graduated high school 21 years ago and that was the last time I had a bike. I was in a complete state of shock.
From the time my feet hit the pedals, I was in love all over again. The sun was beaming and the wind was blowing across my face. And the smile I had was all the evidence you needed to confirm this act of powering myself up and down streets using wheels was now a necessity.
Add it to the self-care lifestyle.
After riding for over two hours, we made our way back to the neighborhood. I couldn’t stop grinning. I had so much fun. I also couldn’t grasp why it had taken me so long to get back to that moment. I guess it was because I’d truly forgotten how enjoyable it was.
Now, I struggle to not ride every day. If I could, I would. I’m also trying to find balance between bike riding and running. What I really need are more hours in the day.
*insert the hand clapping of all women*
Seriously though, rediscovering my love for bike riding has been a game changer. I love swerving to miss potholes, gliding over speed bumps, finding a big parking lot to casually perform donuts in, cruising through neighborhoods I rarely visit, randomly stopping to look at different things around town and covering a vast amount of mileage in a short amount of time.
I’m now at a point where I have to “beach cruise” at least once a week. And every outing is different. I’ve rode solo. I’ve rode to personal training appointments. I’ve rode to my cousin’s house. I’ve rode to get a snowcone. I’ve rode in the rain. I’ve rode to get vegetables from the community garden (the bike has a basket on it).
I’ve had so much fun!
I can’t thank my little sister enough for this blessing.
Before I depart, let me offer a suggestion. Adult life is challenging. It brings with it so many demands, requirements and expectations. There are plenty of adult things we can do to promote self-care – traveling, massages, burning incense and oils, yoga, meditating, pedicures, manicures, focused breathing, etc.
However, I want to challenge you to think about the things you did as a child that gave you joy. That joy that made you want to tell your mom, dad or friends about how much fun you had. Think about those things and figure out what you can incorporate from your childhood into your adult life. I’m convinced that many people are missing out on some of life’s greatest self-care blessings because we’re focused on adulting.
Let that kid in you come out and have some fun! I promise you won’t regret it.
Bye now. I’ve got a bike to ride.
Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart is a freelance writer who party hops daily and is thankful for all those on the frontlines working to slow down this pandemic. God bless you!
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