For Julie Bowen, Small Steps Are the Key to Self-Care

Christy Piña
·3 mins read
Photo credit: E! Entertainment
Photo credit: E! Entertainment

From Woman's Day

Maintaining your health can feel overwhelming at times; there's doctor appointments to schedule, healthy meals to prep, workouts to complete, and minutes where you just need to breathe. But you shouldn't let the fear of a long list be the reason your health falls to the wayside. That's why actress Julie Bowen tackles her health one, small step at a time. "There's all these little steps you can do that make your body feel better, your brain feel better, and that sort of creates a spiral of good feeling, which is what we want to get to," Bowen, who has partnered with ATTN and Rally Health to narrate a four-part docuseries called Population Health, tells Woman's Day.

Bowen realized the power of small steps — literally — between her first and second pregnancy. At the time, she wanted to start running again but knew she couldn't just jump right back into 5Ks. So, she downloaded an app to help her with the journey. Eventually, she got back in a pre-pregnancy running groove and even felt she could train for a marathon. Now, over a decade since Bowen last gave birth, she still makes it a point to get outdoors.

"I just want to feel good, and I want my brain to feel good, and that means going outside," she says. "You don't need any equipment. You don't need anything other than this desire to take care of yourself."

The actress has used small steps in other parts of her life too, but mainly her health. For example, instead of looking at her upcoming doctor appointments as this long list, she looks at them one at a time and tackles the easy ones first. "It's just the small steps instead of looking at like this wall of health you have to scale, which feels really overwhelming," she explains, and she's not the only one who feels that way.

Katherine Milkman, an operations and information management professor at Wharton Business School, conducted a few studies that echoed Bowen's small step sentiment in regards to health. Her research touched on how people can overcome temptation and achieve their health goals, like exercising more, eating healthier, and making and keeping their doctor appointments. One of the studies prompted participants to write down a date and time when they'd do something small and beneficial for their health, like getting a flu shot or mammogram. When that specific time came, the study found people were much more likely to actually follow through with what they jotted down.

Taking the small step of inputting a doctor appointment for a specific time in her calendar may help Bowen keep her physical and mental health in check, but there is no hard and fast rule about how to take care of your own health. You know yourself better than anybody else. "[The goal is] just to feel better," Bowen says, "and we all can."

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