As you read this, I’m doing one of a few things: just crawling out of bed without an alarm, sitting on my balcony reading a book, watching the waves crash and listening to the birds, or lying on the beach meditating to the sounds of the ocean. I am on vacation.
Every year for the last ten years, I have taken a solo vacation to the beach. I used to live near my chosen location which is why I come here because if I’m going to be alone I want to be somewhere familiar and comfortable. Why do I do this? Because I have to. It doesn’t have to be at the beach of course, and next year I may go camping for a week, but it does have to be by myself. It is when I don’t have to be concerned about anyone else’s agenda or entertainment that I can truly relax and do the work that I need to do for myself.
I have realized over the years the importance of self-care and alone-time. I know how important it is to physically remove myself from everything and just spend some time regrouping, so I make it a priority, saving all year for it. It gives me time to check in with myself and see how I’m really doing. I clear my head of all the daily worries and pressures, and just let things flow. It is during this time that so many solutions come about, as well as recognizing directions I need to move in. While I like to plan, I am still a person that really goes with the flow, and I have noticed how easy it is to be swept up by other people’s currents and the next thing you know, you’re completely off track. Spending a few days with myself in only my flow remedies that. There’s something to be said for solid clarity without interference.
It’s hard for some people to imagine spending all of that time alone, away from technology, barely speaking to anyone. It’s scary for some to sit with themselves and their thoughts, and what I have to say is that if you aren’t your best friend, someone you love to spend time with getting to know, you’re missing out and need to get reacquainted- especially since you are probably expecting someone else to see that in you. If you don’t, why would they? Just something to think about. It’s really good to know all the reasons you’re amazing so that you don’t have to rely on someone else to figure it out for you, and on the other side of that it’s really great to figure out what you can and want to work on within yourself. Those are now your goals when you rejoin the real world. Always improving and progressing.
I recognize that not everyone can afford to take a week away from their lives to do this, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive trip somewhere for that long. The important part is getting away by yourself for more than a couple days so that the dust can settle and you are given a chance to truly process whatever is happening in your world. We each have to make ourselves a priority.
I don’t do it for fun; I do it out of necessity and for peace.
Stillness, calming my mind and my soul, so that I can be all that I need to be for the people in my life and for myself. The best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself first. Everyone has heard the oxygen mask analogy so I’ll spare you, but the premise is still accurate. If you are depleted, burned out, resentful, exhausted, (add any other negative adjective here) – how can you be a positive presence and full participant in the world around you? Your natural response here should be “you can’t.” Get you and your shit together, then be there in full capacity for others. The best gift you can give anyone is to be truly present with them, so if doing it for you isn’t enough, then do it for everyone else. Take care of yourself.