I’m on vacation and that should mean living at the beach, however, this vacay, I honestly only felt to sleep and wile away the hours in an attempt to feel relax.
( I have been told before that I relax wrong and I wanted to do it right this time!)
That and the fact that for the better portion of this year, I have been unsuccessful in going for a swim!
That all changed on Tuesday, when me and my vacay-pal decide to just get off the couch and go laze in the surf. It was a spur of the moment decision that saw us getting change in record time and on the road to the beach in like 10 minutes.
It was the smartest and silliest thing we had done yet. We managed to grab our towels, but forgot the sun-block, drinking water and everything else, all because of the siren call of cool sea swimming.
The sun was scorching the sands of the beautiful beach as we locked up the car and took in the beauty of the rolling turquoise waves.
I was happy! I was finally-finally at the beach and the sun was still up and the water was calling my name!
But the sun was not playing around!
It was so hot, that just recording a short video for my IG was difficult and I could feel and see the sweat dripping down my face the moment my feet touched the powdery grains of sand, courtesy of my phone.
The beach itself was quiet, afterall it was a work day for everyone else, still I had not expected to see the place so open and underpopulated.
There was one family in the water and just miles of sandy shores and gentle waters…exactly what the doctor ordered.
So we decide to leave the family a wide berth and find our own chill spot further down the beach and by ‘chill spot’ I mean a shady, forgiving spot that would save us from the cruel sun rays.
We ended up basically on the other side of the beach, which I decided was far enough- really though, I was tired of walking and was ready to dump our stuff under the thicket of trees we had discovered.
That’s when we saw the ‘warning’ under the tree, instructing us to NOT be under them especially in the rain, because apparently that particular tree is poisonous.
(…my question of course is why is that tree lining all of the beach then?)
We move away and decide to just rest our stuff close to the surf, but far enough away that they are not under the tree, but still on the powdery sand dunes.
The running joke between me and my friend for this year is that I have yet to submerge myself into the waves of the sea, infact the last time, I got anywhere near the water, it was too late to go swimming, so I just literally stuck a toe in.
This time I was determined would be different.
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I had not taken proper vacation in what felt like five years and I could not handle being so close to shimmering water and not becoming the mermaid I am at heart, by diving into the beautiful depths.
Only problem, – the area we chose was surrounded by big rocks sunken into the surf, as if the beach had built a protective wall around itself and it went on for too long for me to simply jump over them safely.
Not one to give into defeat, we decided to move to an area that I could actually get into the water without hurting myself.
And would you believe the moment we did, the sky changed dramatically with dark grey clouds posing ominously above us?
Just as I placed my stuff down and protected my phone, the rain pelted right down.
This was unacceptable.
I refused to believe that my beach day was going to end in a story about how the rain soaked me with it’s pitter patter, so I waded right into the water, telling my friend I would be damned if I got wet solely by rain and not actual waves.
Was I worried about my hair and the fact that I was about to break the golden rule of not getting my hair wet? Yes.
Did that stop me? Nope!
And so there we were in the cold water, close to the shallows enjoying the rain as well as the fact that we were now the only two people in the water. It was freeing and for the first time in a really, really long time, I truly felt as if I was on vacation.
My brain was not filled up with marketing plans, with fears over upcoming bills, with plaguing self doubts, instead I was preoccupied by a jumping school of small fish and this medium sized almost translucent fish that seemed determined to use me as his own version of shade and hiding spot.
I was just enjoying myself and making jokes and letting the sea soothe me and it felt amazing!
Self care is so important and in the past I can admit that when it came to really taking care of me and listening to what my body was telling me, I was a bit military in my mindset.
I would check to see if I was healthy enough to work and as long as I was, then I was fine.
In my mind if I had time to rest or enjoy myself, then I should be doing something more ‘productive’ and it’s only recently, when I have had the time to truly check my behavior, that I had no choice but to see how idiotic that kind of thinking truly is.
My body and mind needed a break, it needed rest and time off from the mental stressors I had been flaying it with and so this vacation has been the best thing ever!
It takes practice to keep relaxing and not give into the very real urges to almost guiltily jump back into work and don the familiar blanket of my life burdens, even when I meditate my intuition tells me to relax and let things come to me, rather than me jumping all over the place.
It’s weird for me to pause, and to give my attention to something other than my hunt for wealth and entrepreneurial validation, but I am glad I gave myself the time and space to grow and stretch, because it made me look critically at the lifestyle I was hell-bent on nurturing.
On the mindset I was still operating from and that it was not ok.
I wanted a life of ease, simplicity and authenticity, yet I was making my own life difficult, stressful and full of intense pressures. So that meant taking real actions to nurture the lifestyle I claim to want and was praying for.
That meant turning my gaze away from work and firmly onto myself.
It was terrifying.
I rarely ever even take a day off, but I took time for over a week and counting and I slept so much!
And honestly, I feel refreshed, I wake up happier, less scared and guarded and while life will throw a lot of plot twists at you, I can honestly say that I am enjoying my time off and my vacation brain.
I already feel more creative and almost accustomed to having shoulders that don’t slump or aching as they attempt to keep themselves up.
I gave myself permission to enjoy myself, to look beyond my many challenges right now and take in the much larger picture and that made me realise how ensnared I really was.
Self care for me, is this week of rest, of pausing on the challenges and giving the happy-meter a serious dial up, because I am human and there will always be challenges, but there won’t always be a me.
These experiences won’t always be here and I prefer to take the break now that I’m healthy and can enjoy it, rather than when I’m sick and cranky.
It’s all mindset and perspective and I’m understanding that more and more daily!
So what about you? What does down time look like for you and how often do you allow your mind and body to fully relax?