I have learned so much in the past year about taking care of myself as I pursue the healthy coastal lifestyle. One of the key things I’ve learned is the importance of making sure I get exactly what I need. What I need may not be what I want or what I think is best, but it’s what my body needs.
This past weekend was my teen’s and my mom/daughter weekend away. We always go to this one beach, stay in the exact same room at the same resort, and eat at the same places both nights. We like the routine, we’ve made our mark in our room (to make it helpful for us and others who stay there), and at no time have we ever been starving on a Saturday evening and playing the “Where do you want to eat? I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?” game. It’s easy, because we can also be flexible in what we do as need be. This past weekend was a miracle in and of itself, because the island had shut down ahead of Hurricane Dorian and just reopened to the public two hours before check-in time.
As a result of the hurricane causing so many to cancel plans, my daughter and I were only two of five people Friday night and into Saturday morning, and throughout the weekend, we had the entire back half of the resort to ourselves. There was no fighting for seats at breakfast or crowded beaches (though the beach usually isn’t bad). The concierge said it could be a little eerie. To us, it was just fun.
The things we did this past weekend were just what we needed. They may not look like “typical” weekend vacationer things, but we’re not typical vacationers. Instead of a heavy dinner Friday night, we were satisfied with a shared appetizer and chowder. We opted for movies in the room when the sun or mosquitoes got to be too much. And in a rare moment, we grabbed late afternoon naps before dinner on Saturday. So many times previously, we would’ve pushed through our fatigue, but we didn’t this time.
We obeyed our bodies. We took hold of exactly what we needed for optimal health. It seems like a silly thing to have learned, but I’m not very good about allowing my body to dictate my activities. I push through, force myself to keep going, to perform, to take care of everyone and everything. However, when my head is pounding from being tired or when the anxiety begins to creep in, I can’t keep going, I can’t perform, and I can’t even take care of myself, let alone others. Because I have started doing this, my teen has been able to give herself permission to do it, too.
My favorite rest moments come in savasana naps. Savasana is final resting pose in a yoga practice, and practitioners are supposed to hold the pose for five minutes per hour of practice. When I grab a savasana nap, I lay down across my bed in savasana, drop my tongue from the roof of my mouth, and focus on something mindless – rain on the roof, the whirl of the ceiling fan, my own breathing. My mind stops thinking, stops racing, and simply rests. After twenty minutes and a good stretch, I feel like I’ve just slept for eight solid hours.
A minor version of this is simple meditation. It allows my mind to rest without going all the way into a nap. Today, for example, I could breathe into the headache pounding away behind my forehead and breathe that discomfort out. I came out of it refreshed, headache-free, and ready to tackle work. A year ago, I would have pushed through the work and the headache, but now I’ve learned that I need these moments to be my healthiest and best.
What are some tricks you’ve picked up to be the healthiest and happiest you can be? Where do you see yourself needing to give yourself permission to take moments for rest? Drop your strategies in the comments.