In October, Monica McNutt is extremely busy.
I know this because her team tried to align our schedules for a live interview on numerous occasions without success.
But that’s just the reality of her job. The NBA pre-season is about to begin and for an ESPN NBA & WNBA Reporter & Studio Analyst that means busy days and jam-packed weeks ahead.
Still, Monica wants to do this interview and so do I. So, we make arrangements to get it done via email. I send her the questions and she replies a few days later.
Our discussion is broadly focused on being busy, a relevant topic for Monica but also so many of us.
According to a 2018 Pew Study, 60% of U.S. adults felt too busy to enjoy life, with technology and information overload making it even more demanding for some.
“So much is thrown at us in all types of careers and walks of life,” Monica says.
For her, in television that looks like a busy schedule, multiple voices in her ear, having to keep up with headlines in the news…
However, this crazy ‘norm’ is what also makes her a huge ambassador of fitness, travel, and in general, wellness.
“I don’t know if people make the correlation between their mental and physical health immediately; I do as a person that comes from a sports background. I feel better when my body is moving, and I have had the opportunity to sweat. My brain feels sharper, my spirit feels better, and I know they are closely intertwined.”
Monica regularly carves out time for exercise for this reason. Not only is it her defense against a demanding world but she also feels it is an expression of joy for her.
“Joy is movement. Whether it is something as beautiful as dance or ballet or me throwing around weight. That movement is an expression of joy and a place in which I feel powerful and complete. To carve that out to focus on my body and be in tune is just so refreshing, refuelling, helps me stabilize and find the energy to keep up with everything that makes up my hectic life and job.”
Monica believes travelling with the intention of resting, serving, or just not working can be extremely powerful too when it comes to stepping away from our professions and being present in other parts of life.
In other words, to Monica, travel and exercise are great ways to replenish in a world that constantly beckons us to go, go, go.
But she is also mindful of privilege—the ability to afford travel and exercise. So, I ask her to share some tips that anyone, regardless of budget, can use to improve their wellness. She happily shares the following:
Monica’s Tips for Healthy Living
“Exercise doesn’t have to be fancy. I watched a great TED Talk where two Black women got people to walk. Exercise can be dancing, doing the stairs several times in your apartment building or home, a lap around your house, or walking your pet. It’s just movement. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 30 minutes, exercise is just carving out time for moving.”
Adopt This Mindset
“There are amazing organizations that put together trips to do extraordinary things around the country, domestically, or internationally. Whether you are talking about Habitat for Humanity type of program, a diplomacy problem, or an opportunity to travel as a media member, I don’t think travel has to be across an ocean. What have you been curious about in your local community? If you took time to go and do it, it would serve as a refresher–a place and moment to refuel. Staycations are all the rave. Travel is a mentality. Curiosity and mindfulness of resting do not have to be predicated on changing your location. If you are strapped, you can achieve those things at home. Tell your friends and family, “I am not available from XX time to YY time or this particular day because I am creating a retreat-like space in my home or just carving out time for myself.”
“Putting my phone down and being present is restorative. Work, drama, and people that need things and ask for them [are all attached to phones]. Put the thing away, be off the grid, and be present–whether [its] solo travelling or [just being] with loved ones. It is so important. Honestly, if something is going to fold because you took a day or two or a week off, you may need to re-evaluate the structure you’ve set up. The rat race doesn’t stop and will be there when you plug back in. Take care of yourself because the grind never stops. Companies, jobs, and families will use you up until you stop and make everyone else stop. Take a moment to restore.”