I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Kailua, Hawaii, feeling the serenity that comes from spending several hours each day walking on the beach. I booked this trip on impulse just a week before I arrived. I chose a solo getaway to Hawaii because this place has amazing healing properties.
Regular readers know I had a rough summer, I lost my best friend to cancer, and the last month has been unexpectedly difficult for me. Just the mention of her name makes me choke up. The grief that comes from losing someone you love in such a traumatic way is crippling. The combination of mental exhaustion from her caretaking and the grief of her loss welled up to a point where I was having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.
I decided to show myself some love and give myself the gift of Hawaii for a week. And I couldn’t pass up a last minute airfare deal :) All these hours I’ve spent alone on the beach left to think and reflect reminded me how important it is to actively engage in self care. The term “self care” is one we hear a lot these days. It’s not just about taking care of ourselves physically, but mentally as well.
I was having a conversation with a mom friend the other day. She was having intense anxiety because she was being pulled in too many directions. This is so common among women, we tend to say yes to everything because we want to please others and then end up suffering as a result. We go through this internal debate: am I being selfish by saying no to ____, or should I just suck it up and keep giving more of myself?
But in reality, we must say no to anything that throws us off balance, takes away from our priorities, or endangers our mental stability. We need to have the courage to make changes in our lives where things aren’t working even if it causes disappointment or temporary pain. We must establish healthy boundaries by blocking out the things that we don’t want to do just because others have their expectations of us. We cannot survive or thrive in a long term state of anxiety or stress or depression. Our body, our heart, and our soul need rest to replenish.
Self love in action is placing yourself in a healthy environment where you thrive and grow, and removing yourself from energy draining environments that are defeating. Maybe this means breaking up with a toxic relationship or leaving a stressful job. Even social media can destroy our joy when we get caught up watch everyone else’s highlight reel instead of feeling gratitude for the blessings in our lives.
Instead of playing the comparison game, change the yardstick of the measurement of your success. Live your life on your terms without care or concern for anyone else’s definition of success, and ignore any judgment you receive for your choices.
Today I just wanted to share some words of encouragement to be your own best friend. Make the choice to put self care into action. Especially as we enter another busy holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself.
Take a long walk with your favorite playlist. Take yourself out to lunch. Go get a pedicure or go to the movies. Or if you’re like me, book an impulsive trip to getaway for a few days. :) Like they remind us on the airplane, put your oxygen mask on yourself first before you help others. Step away from your busy life and give yourself a break to refocus on what’s important to you. Be brave enough to say no to anything that causes you stress, and the courage to say yes to the things that fulfill you.
Sending much aloha.