Not only does exercise give Michelle Pell, 36, of Grand Ledge, more energy to power through the day, but it also keeps her mind sharp. And being sharp is something she counts on as director of the MSU Union, and as a mother.
“I have been active from a young age and through my college years,” she said. “Motherhood and the demands of my career have brought new challenges and definitions of wellness and fitness into my everyday life. I have to have fitness in my life, even if it’s a small effort, daily. It has always improved my mindset and has given me a positive outlook, patience, and presence with my family and colleagues. Demonstrating that movement is a daily part of wellness, for my 5- and 7-year-old girls, is also a large motivator for the need to work out.”
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She said the pandemic has made working out a challenge. It’s one she’s accepted, even finding a new passion along the way.
“Prior to COVID-19, I was enjoying early morning HIIT classes at my local gym coupled with a 30-minute run,” she said. “However, since March, when we went into the ‘shelter in place,’ I invested in a Peloton Bike, and I am LOVING the variety of classes, music, energy, and community that I have found in OnePeleton.”
She said she continually tries new outlets and ideas for her wellness routines. According to Pell, she uses food sensitivity screening, essential oils, beach body classes, HIIT classes, breathing practices, cold water exposure, sun salutations, coconut oil pulling, herbs for gut health, dry brushing, supplements, and vitamins, walking meetings, natural skincare routines, intermittent fasting, and more to stay healthy.
“I don’t do every one of these things every single day,” she explained. “But having a variety of practices in my toolbox, and by setting myself up to achieve most of them through the day, makes me feel accomplished in my self-care. It took time to test, try new things, add routines to my day to get to where I am today, and I am constantly excited to learn more small ways to weave fitness into my busy daily schedule.
“If I ever feel stuck in the day, I ask myself ‘what’s one quick thing I can do to help me feel better?’ and it’s usually stopping and making time, even 1 minute, to do one of these things for myself,” she added.
She said she is a strict vegetarian, borderline vegan.
“I don’t get picky if people made food with butter in it, for example, but I avoid all other meat/cheese/egg/fish products for health and animal/global welfare reasons,” she said. “Vegetables and fruits, lots of seeds, nuts, hummus, and avocado make up the majority of my diet. I also intermittent fast from 8 p.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day and typically only have water with watermelon juice with my morning supplements. I feel this helps keep my digestive system moving well and less stagnant.”
She does treat herself, from time to time, with a piece of homemade cake or cookie.
“When I indulge, I let myself enjoy the food and keep my next meal choice positive to not spiral into consistent inputs of sugar or sweets,” she said. “I also can, sometimes, overcome indulging by picturing how my future self will feel about ‘cheating’ and sometimes that can pull me quickly away from the idea.”
Having the will power to overcome temptations is something that has taken some time to develop, but it’s a skill she continually practices.
“Exercise keeps my internal energies lifted, positive chemicals flowing through my body to keep my mental and emotional health in tune,” she said. “I like to feel strong, alive, and energized, and even a quick workout can help give me the energy to keep up with my family and career. Being healthy is a continuous work in progress for me. I am not afraid of change. I am afraid of staying the same. Learning new life hacks for health and wellness will always be a check and adjust thing for me, and I encourage everyone to try to find what routines and self-care work best for their lives.”