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Adventure, Health, and Self-Care


February is historically a busy month in my youth and family world. While for the secular world, it brings the Superbowl, Valentine's Day, President's Day, and..depending on your location, winter activities; my month is usually spent in chaotic church ministry. 

Typically, my February would include:

  • Extravaganza: An Annual Youth Ministry Network Conference
  • Superbowl Youth Group Fundraiser
  • Shrove Tuesday Activities (usually in Feb, but sometimes early March)
  • Ash Weds and Lent Services 
  • NC Lutheran Youth Organization Assembly
  • A youth retreat or trip around President's Day
  • Prep for March retreats, Egg Hunts, and Easter
This year, everything is pretty much dormant due to restrictions our congregation has on in-person events. The Annual Youth Ministry conference is virtual, no in-person activities involving food, and prep for church holidays all revolve around livestream, recordings, and porch deliveries of kits. 

I am seriously feeling the travel nostalgia hard this year. Exactly one year ago, I was in California for an annual youth ministry conference. 

I saw numerous colleagues and friends I only get to hang out with once a year and experience California adventures for the first time! I also learned amazing things at a conference that fulfills me, enlivens me, and rejuvenates me for the next year. 

The conference starts today, all by Vimeo and Zoom, and I know the experience won't be the same sitting in my living room, but I know I'll still learn and will still see colleagues via Zoom and connect via chat functions.

Just a few short days later after returning from California, I then whisked off to a Florida adventure to serve on a youth retreat that one of my seminary classmates, who is like family, asked me to participate in. 

Most of our time was spent at the camp retreat center, but  I snagged a day before and after the retreat, so that I could just "be" myself, able to visit with my friends, in the midst of insanity. Planning for the retreat before, and recovering from exhaustion after meant minimal time to "be", but it was still fun to roam around  in our off time. 

Almost immediately after returning, I then took 11 teens to our annual Lutheran Youth Organization Assembly. Just imagine: 500 teens (6-12th grades), their advisors/ pastors in one big hotel ballroom. 

Insanity, right? 

But it brings so much life and so much goodness to see them building relationships, growing in their faith, and having fun off their electronic devices!

Finally, the month ended with a wonderful Leap Day wedding of one of my college friends. After the wedding, a few of us ventured out to celebrate even further- especially since we had not seen each other in a while! 

Following the wedding, I headed off to Georgia for a 3 day conference specifically geared towards ELCA Deacons, then came back to expect an as crazy busy March. 

But, the pandemic put a stop into those plans as everything pretty much halted by the second week of March.

At first, those few weeks were nice. Don't get me wrong- I love to travel.. but February last year was slightly ridiculous! It was great to stay home, to clean, to do laundry, and to not have to "be" anywhere, especially when NC went into work-from-home orders. 

As a full year has passed by, I find myself longing for those days of people and of adventure. Each trip brought wonderful adventures- full of creativity, laughter, excitement that, even if it did lead to exhaustion, enhanced my well-being in some way. 

This month is just going to be strange as everything is virtual, postponed, or just different. With slightly less adventures, this could turn out to be a pretty mundane month. Yet, I hope I still continue to learn, grow, and perhaps play at some point. 

This month will also bring a lot of free time, which I've decided to focus on health and well-being amid the challenges that virtual Lent will bring. 

Usually, all the traveling and church events throws off my exercising and eating routines, so I am challenging myself to find ways to incorporate daily self-care into February this year. So far, I've been keeping up a work-out routine and have been trying to find different recipes to ensure I get more fruits and veggies. I often struggle eating vegetables, so this is going to be a major task. I am also trying to get decent sleep, take time away from the computer (because, lets be honest.. Zoom is staying around for a while), and perhaps even enjoy a book or two!

Hopefully, if these things become routine, then they will be so ingrained in me that I'll even keep them up when life resumes whatever it will look like in-person in the future! If there's nothing else I've learned, it's that even during virtual settings, someone will ALWAYS want my attention or want me to be doing something. Without proper self-care, I definitely can't serve the people I work with effectively, so it's okay if those emails, texts, and calls go unanswered for a little bit. 

Even though I'm glad that I have this time to focus on my health, self-care, and perhaps be creative in the process, I still would love to see colleagues and friends as soon as possible and maybe get back to some traveling (even if it is for work!) very soon! 

I really am longing for the excitement of travel and seeing people, new places, and having new experiences outside of my home or office computer setting. 

I know it will happen one day and I'll probably look back, thinking, oh, why can't I stay home again.. but for now, I want to plan my next travel trip! 

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go? 

Share with us below or over on MBP Social Sites! 

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