Mental and physical wellness are linked much more directly than many people might know. An increase in physical activity, whether it’s a run, walk, bike ride or an at-home workout, can exponentially increase the health AND happiness in someone’s life.

Especially if that someone is struggling with a mental battle that has become more difficult to deal with since COVID, social isolation and the closing of businesses became a part of our daily lives.

Now, more than ever, we need to focus on our mental and physical wellness. With the lives of so many of us being turned upside down during the past year, we’ve all had our own battles to fight.

One thing that can help each of us is taking care of ourselves so that we can continue taking care of others.

Even if you only have time to set aside 10 minutes every day to do a quick workout, or can only take a short walk with your dog or your kids, these small acts can quickly add up to large, positive changes in your life. This positive growth can then spread to your family life, into your work life and into your relationships with friends and everyone else around you.

Here’s something I tell all of my clients and students: “It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”

Why? Because sometimes all that we have to do to accomplish our goals or just make our lives better is to change our mindset.

Ninety percent of what we do in our lives in mental — only 10% is physical. Letting fear, doubt, negativity and hopelessness into our lives just makes accomplishing anything that much harder.

But if we get up in the morning, grateful to be alive, grateful to have what we do have, and grateful to be given the time to make our lives and the lives of those around us better — that right there will be shifting that 90% to your advantage.

We are all busy and we all have our “crosses to bear,” but what if we stopped looking at these as burdens and started looking at them as blessings?

I run three businesses and work full time with my 4-year-old and 6-month-old with me at home (my oldest is currently crawling all over me while I write this). Can it be overwhelming? Can it be frustrating at times? Yes and yes.

Sometimes I get all the work done and sometimes I don’t. Some days I get a great run in before my husband goes to work and other times I struggle through getting in a 20-minute workout while one kiddo is crying and the other one is asking me question after question.

But what I have learned is that in every season of my life, I have to adapt. So now, instead of just not working out because I have the kids (or getting frustrated when I don’t get any alone time), I throw them in the double stroller and take them on a run on the Yakima Greenway. Or I put my youngest in the front pack and my oldest and I will walk/run alongside me for a “workout hike” (which consists of hiking and then doing squats and lunges at certain viewpoints or at his favorite tree or river spot.

And when we are at home together and I want to get in a quick 10-minute strength or yoga session, I recruit my oldest to do the workout with me (which he loves) while my youngest will watch intently and workout right alongside us in his bouncer.

Speaking of those 10-minute at-home workouts, I’ve decided to share a few of them with you so that you can start to take care of yourself a bit more … even if you can’t go to the gym or afford fancy equipment.

So grab some water (and your “helpers” if you’ve got kiddos at home) and set that timer for 10 minutes of fun. That’s right, I said FUN! Because what better time to start turning that mindset around than now?

For each set of exercises, do 10 reps per exercise (20 if you are alternating). Repeat until your 10 minutes is up! The harder you work, the more of a workout you will get.

If the exercises begin to get easy, add hand weights — or soup cans or milk jugs if you don’t have equipment. And if you have to take breaks or finish early, don’t fret. The stronger you get, the easier it will get.

(For a quick warmup, arm circles, jumping jacks and walking knee hugs for 3 minutes total prior to your workout.) 10-minute Lower Body Workout

Butt Kicks

Squats

Walking Lunges (20 total)

Frog Jumps

Back Lunge (20 total)

10-minute Full Body Workout

Squats

Mountain Climbers

Walking Lunges (20 total)

Flutter Kicks (20 total)

Shoulder Taps (in plank position)

10-minute Core Workout

Flutter Kicks

Supermans

Bicycles

Alternating V Ups

Plank Hip Dips