Published on August 23, 2020

Jerry HarrisPin It
Courtesy of Jerry Harris

Way back in December, a certain unexpected sports team captured the hearts of Netflix watchers everywhere: the Navarro College cheer team. And on that team, one big-hearted breakout star spread his infectious joy and optimism far and wide. Jerry Harris is Cheer’s biggest cheerleader. 

But life for Harris—like everyone—changed in March, when he returned home to his family in Chicago to finish the school year remotely. April’s NCA/NDA College Nationals cheer competition in Daytona Beach, where Harris was supposed to compete, was canceled (it’s up in the air whether he will return and be able to compete in 2021). But Harris hasn’t stopped sharing his trademark, spirit-lifting mat talk: You can catch his advice for staying positive in his “Morning Motivation” Instagram Lives every Tuesday, in partnership with Cheerios and No Kid Hungry, a charity close to Harris’s heart.

So how does an eternal optimist prioritize his self-care in a time of uncertainty? Here, Harris shares his wellness routine, which includes working out to “cheer music,” playing cards with family, and even rewatching his own show. (Can you blame him?) 

Take note: I like to start my mornings with a gratitude journal. I write down five things that I’m very grateful for and blessed with. When quarantine first happened and I came home, everything was crazy and I was getting really agitated. So, one of my family members introduced me to the concept. It really does make a difference—you can be mad when you first wake up or maybe something happened last night, but when you write about what you’re grateful for, it takes away the pain. I’m beginning to start my morning on a good foot and with a big burst of positivity.  

Stream team: On my ideal night, I’m sitting on the couch and watching Dance Moms. I haven’t had that much time to really get into a new television show—anytime I start something I never finish. But I do love rewatching Cheer. I’m a big re-watcher. I’ll try something new, but nothing’s going to change how I feel, so I’ll rewatch the show that I’ve seen 20 times already.

Aroma therapy: I love the feeling of walking into a room and smelling a candle. They make my room feel more homey. I really love citrus scents, and I can never get enough of any kind of “island breeze” scent—it makes me feel like I’m at the beach even if I’m in the Midwest. 

Game night: I may also play a card game with my family, whether it be Uno or The Great Dalmuti, which I was recently introduced to and is amazing. Before quarantining, we’d all be at school or cheer practice, so this is a nice activity that brings us together. 

Sweat it out: I love working out, and I usually do so at the end of the night just to let off some steam and really wear down my tires. It makes me want to fall asleep too. My playlist is all cheer music. I go hard. Cheer is life for me! I’ll listen to this team’s music, that team’s music—it’s very upbeat, motivational, and it makes me want to work hard. I always try to stay with the music—you have to go fast. I do also like to pretend that I’m doing routines to it in my head. After I’m done, I’m usually a little hungry, so I’ll have a bowl of cereal, like Cheerios.

Counting blessings: I like to pray, especially when things may be rough. I like to give thanks for my blessings—that helps me really ease myself into sleep. I might also read a couple pages in a book. I love The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. 

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