Getting Exactly What You Need

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.

The Joy of Saying No, pt. 1

When I was in divinity school, I studied how to place personal boundaries on my time, my commitments, and my space.  I also learned how to set boundaries on the amount of crap I’d put up with.  Manipulation?  Nope, I’m choosing not to accept that.  Heartfelt pleadings for me to do something for you when my schedule is already overloaded?  Nuh uh.  Not my problem.  Sure, I pissed some people off, but they got used to my “no” and soon grew to recognize that I could still be in relationship with them without the psychological game playing.  (I mean, seriously, who has time for that when you’re in graduate school, working, and raising a family?)

Grumpy Cat No
Love me some Grumpy Cat!

While it is no longer hard at all for me to tell people “no,” I have had a really hard time enforcing my boundaries when it comes to my business.  I’ll work long hours on production or media, or I’ll burn the midnight oil to get a zero-hour order processed for a customer and out the next day.  The transformation seemed to come all at once.  A few days before Christmas, a private label customer sent an order to me.  I informed her that I was closed for the holidays and gave her a specific date when I would begin to process her order.  Ahhh…  Telling myself that it was OK not to work proved to be incredibly liberating to me.

More recently, another private label customer and I were discussing her most recent order, which was all ready to go in the mail.  My agenda for the following day included taking my car to be serviced before heading to the beach with my girls.  As she asked for add-ons to her order – none of which I had expected or had ready – I said, “It’s almost 11:00.  I’m not going to do that tonight.”  She’d temporarily forgotten one part that would have had me up for a while later and agreed to add those into her next order.  Really, truly, I have amazing, understanding customers!!!

In both of these cases, I’d had to say “no” in order to preserve my time, my body’s needs, and my sanity.  No longer do I have to give up family time or sleep in order to meet my customers’ needs.  This wisdom comes with experience and being in business for a long time.  It is wisdom that has seen late nights, high stress, and printer malfunctions (which only happen in crunch times).  It’s wisdom that has cried from being overwhelmed with trying to balance soapmaking and present wrapping.  While it has been earned the hard way, the reward is giving myself permission to stop, rest, and relax.

If you are a business owner of any sort, to what have you had to say, “no”?

Click here for “The Joy of Saying No, part 2.”