Hi, Everyone, sorry it’s taken me so long to write…
I feel like I write that same line over and over again: sorry it’s been so long since I emailed/ called/ visited, life’s been crazy. I found myself saying that repeatedly and realized that something was wrong.
Why did I always feel like life was crazy? When was I going to get a grip? And what was my problem anyway?
I read and talk all the time about stress relief and work-life balance, yadda yadda yadda…
Of course, in the midst of me telling people to take care of themselves, I’ve been running around like a, well, like a crazy person and distinctly not listening to my own advice.
What helps me cope with a busy life? Going on walks, taking a yoga class, eating really healthy and reading fun books. In the past two months I have managed to mow my way through several romantic comedy novels, but that’s it. I can’t remember where my yoga mat is, or where my sneakers are, and my kitchen is packed with food my kids like. Sure, an applesauce squeezy could probably count as “healthy”, but I’d never eat one because, “I need those for lunchboxes!”
Finally, the family schedule came to a screeching halt, because it was time to go on vacation with my extended family. We made these plans months ago, and there was nothing to do but drop all the balls I was juggling and get in the car with my husband and kids. (and some beach gear).
I felt a little twitchy because I was leaving work at an in-opportune time, and I had just started my first online graduate course. But, hey, that rental house is already paid for, so we have to go!
So we trekked seven hours south to the Outer Banks of North Carolina…and although I wasn’t loving spending the day in the car, everything worked out fine. By the time we got to our beach house, I felt like I’d been on a long journey (technically true), and I was able to mentally disconnect from all the things that occupied my mind at home.
Like I said, we paid good money for that beach getaway, and I wasn’t going to waste the week thinking about the office or obsessing over class. (I did spend some time each day doing homework, and then rewarded myself with margaritas;)
Anyway, the house was perfect, it was awesome to see my siblings who lived far away, and the weather was beautiful. We walked to the beach one morning en masse, and after getting my kids all sunscreen-ed up, I had a chance to take in the scene.
The beach was absolutely gorgeous! (Hint, hint, this is my happy place!) The sand was warm, the ocean calm and cool, and the sky was incredibly blue. I was smart enough to take it in and think: yes, this rocks! I’m such a dork that I was thinking maybe I’d write a poem about it, because it was just making me so calm and happy. I started trying to compose something and then gave up, nope, not a poet!
I just let myself enjoy walking in the surf, watching my kids frolic, and drinking in the view. That’s when I knew that the most important thing I was going to get out of the week was some real, honest to goodness relaxation. The funny thing is, I hadn’t even noticed that I had needed it so badly.
For the rest of the week we swam, played, ate and slept. I was beginning to think I was developing narcolepsy, when I realized that I was just truly relaxing for the first time in a long while. I was surprised how much down time and sleep my body was craving, but I gave in to it and figured it was necessary.
I found as the week went on, that I avoided picking fights with my mom, and when my toddler melted down from exhaustion, I just calmly put her to bed without getting upset. I was feeling chill and able to cope so much better with all life’s little annoyances. I even was able to come up with some good ideas to celebrate the week and make the most of all of us being together. In short, my brain was functioning much better than usual!
So, of course, all good things must come to an end. Although, I was actually ready to come home and jump back in, so to speak. I had my rest and my fun and gained some perspective. I knew I had to make my health and well-being a priority, and I put some things on my calendar. A long delayed check up, an acupuncture session, a yoga class, and I bought the expensive cherries for a change, after all, you can only get them at certain times of the year.
I don’t know how long the soft lessons of stress relief from my beach vacation will last, but I’m going to try and remember the best I can. Life is so much better when you get a chance to unwind and take care of yourself. I know that my crazy alter ego will reappear and need to be put to bed again in the coming months, but I’m going to leave some sea shells on my dresser as a reminder. (And keep the margarita mix close at hand…)
So please, for the love of all that is good in your life, go to your happy place and frolic or sleep, or just take in the view. We all need it from time to time!