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.

Customer Service Excellence

Part of being a business owner and home educator is giving myself permission to take breaks, like escaping to the beach on occasion.  There is, of course, great value to this, as I come back well-rested and refreshed, sometimes with new ideas for ways to serve my customers better.  When I can experience the epitome of excellent customer service in the search for a much-needed break, all the better.

I first encountered Garison online.  No, it wasn’t at any place sordid – no Ashley Madison dot com or match dot com-type places.  I first became aware of Garison through Trip Advisor.  Garison is the Customer Service Manager for The Winds Resort at Ocean Isle Beach, where Mary and I enjoyed a very relaxing weekend away this past weekend.

A view of the beach through the lush tropical landscaping around the resort
A view of the beach through the lush tropical landscaping around the resort

Mary and me in front of one of the cool, kitschy, totally necessary signs directing you places
Mary and me in front of one of the cool, kitschy, totally necessary signs directing you places

So, what made this guy stand out?  Simply put, it was how he handled all reviews, both positive and negative.  While Garison hasn’t been at The Winds very long (18 months or so), he made an effort to address reviews that predate the start of his tenure at the resort.  Dealing with complaints from what a predecessor did takes some integrity, and I admire integrity.  To reviews that end with, “I’m never coming back!” he replies with a smooth, “Even if you don’t stay with us, we hope you’ll come back to Ocean Isle Beach for your next vacation.”  A 5-star review got a response of, “Navigating The Winds’ many pathways can indeed be challenging. (There’s a reason we hand out maps! <g> ).”  There are winding paths around the property, so the maps are quite helpful.  To another 5-star review, there was this comment, which I found amusing, given that it was overcast and lightly raining until the morning we had to leave:  “I do apologize, however, that we failed to maintain sufficient control of the weather for you. I will speak with our staff about that and see if we can’t do better for your next visit.”  Garison did more than just blow off the reviews with a “Thanks for staying with us and we look forward to seeing you again soon”; he took the time to read each and every review, and he went so far as to accept responsibility on behalf of the resort for things that truly were their fault or failing and using well-placed humor on issues that weren’t.

My daughter and I were already looking forward to the trip, but looking at the online reviews (interesting to note that there’s only been one bad review in the past year) and reading what people were saying, as well as Garison’s responses, just heightened our anticipation and made me want to meet this guy.  As a business owner and one who wants to make sure every customer is happy (not just satisfied), I respect and admire that same quality in others in the customer service sector.  Garison helped at check-in, and he was willing to let me get a picture with him.  On top of that, he was extremely patient with Mary’s efforts to get a clear picture, even though it was time for him to go home for the rest of the weekend.

Garison and me (Photo credit: Mary Nesbitt)
Garison and me (Photo credit: Mary Nesbitt)

I have great respect and admiration for all that Garison has done as Customer Service Manager at The Winds – guest services, managing the staff (and giving them their due for good work), and also taking the time to deal with online comments.  The pleasure Mary and I had as we enjoyed our mom/daughter weekend led us both to declare, “We’re definitely coming back here!”  Garison and his top-notch staff sealed the deal on that.

When’s the last time you took a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily life?  What did you do?

 

 

 

Unplug Yourself

About three weeks ago, my mom, daughters, and I struck out on our Epic Spring Break trip.  We told my daughters for over a year about this “beach trip” we were taking for our Spring Break this year and how much awesome fun it’d be.  I knew what the treat would be – a 3-day Disney cruise on board the largest cruise ship in the Disney fleet, followed by 3 days at Walt Disney World.

The stern of the Disney Dream.
The stern of the Disney Dream.

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It’s a BIIIIG ship!

I left my laptop in the car, and while I took my mobile phone with me on the ship to snap some pictures to text to friends, I turned it off and stowed it in my purse before we left the port.  I could have paid for satellite access for my devices, but instead I opted to take advantage of the opportunity to completely unplug for the duration of our cruise.

This was such a great choice, because it forced me to focus entirely on Mom, my daughters, and the many fascinating things there were to see and do on the ship.  I got along splendidly without text, email, and Facebook for a few days.  Those who needed to find me in an emergency could, and everything else could survive just fine without me.

When we arrived back in Florida, I turned my phone back on to face the bombardment of messages, particularly as my husband was heading to Orlando to meet us (another surprise for the girls).  I didn’t bother with emails or FB, though.  Even when we settled at our Disney resort, I got online just to check my personal email, because some soccer-related things had come up that needed my attention as coach.

For an additional three days, I avoided social media completely, save for the occasional picture posted from my phone.  In the meantime, I made some incredible memories with my family, my mom, and my friend Marci.  This was the first cruise for my daughters and me, and this was my younger daughter’s first trip to Disney World, and it was more important to watch the magic come alive for her than it was to check in on my social media accounts.

This video perfectly encapsulates the value of putting down the phone and paying attention to the people around us.

I put this into practice yesterday as I spent time with my friend April talking about everything under the sun.  My phone vibrated in my pocket off and on for five hours, and I studiously ignored it.  When one of my friends asked where I was, honestly believing that “meeting for coffee” would only last an hour or so, I asked him, “When you go out and are looking around, how many people are buried in their phones?”  He replied, “Way more than I like to see.”  I was determined not to be one of those people, and it left me able to enjoy the face-to-face time.  After all, chick time without kids is rare, but I can check my phone any time.

How do you unplug?  Can you unplug to spend time with loved ones?

 

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