As much as I wanted to write about the Autoimmune Paleo Diet for this next post, I thought it would be more fitting to right a little on self care and "me time".
It's been a challenging last few months, intertwined with surmountable highs and lows. All challenges need to be faced with great strength and will power, and although there are definitely invaluable lessons that can be learnt and exceptional self growth, more often than not, these challenges leave us feeling exhausted, dull and disconnected. So many things have happened in such a short time for me that it is only now, while I recount the experiences, that I realise the toll my body has taken.
There was undoubtedly an underlying urge I had to get myself into nature and detach from the seriousness of reality for a while. My soul was yearning for a proper break from the very moment I decided to take time off from work. Unfortunately, from that same day, there has been nothing but stress, unimaginable moments of what seems like bad luck and tiresome tasks of adulting that I had to deal with. Car accidents, income protection hassles, battling medical aid and even short periods in hospital are just a few of these daunting tasks I had to tackle. Yes, they may seem menial to most, but when you're already battling with exhaustion from not only a chronic illness, but burnout too, it all becomes a little too overwhelming to manage.
Finally, I found the time (even though I'm still dealing with an endless list of adult tasks) to book a trip away. There are so many places I want to go and explore, and despite being an avid adventurer, wanting to explore every nook and cranny of wherever I travel to, I knew I had to choose a place that would allow me to zen out and do as little as possible. So, I jumped onto the holiday apps I have on my phone and searched a few different destinations, finally deciding on the island of Zanzibar.
There is something so magical and rejuvenating about getting away, especially going somewhere where nature surrounds you. It has the ability to reignite the spark in you that is so rapidly dulled when working through challenges. Being able to step outside of your normal routine, to truly reflect on what has happened, to process and accept the challenges you were dealt - it's invigorating. So often we don't allow ourselves the time to sit back, absorb, reflect and understand the things life throws at us. We are so consumed by our every day world that we only have very little, if any, down time to process what we go through. I'm particularly terrible at this and so often compartmentalise my problems and emotions, packing them into boxes that will be dealt with when I have to time or energy, which is never.
As part of my healing plan, I knew I had to ensure that I dedicated more time to myself, my problems, my challenges and most importantly to self care. This isn't an easy task for me by any means, but it has become one that I have had to prioritise. Getting away to spend some time with myself, and my thoughts, to decompress and rejuvenate (and spend time with my phenomenal yet batshit-crazy- in-the-best-possible-way boyfriend) has been a vital part of my healing.
I am spending most of my days here relaxing, doing light exercise, eating delicious and healthy food and doing a little exploring here and there. Nothing too intense that would leave me feeling tired or flat. I'm doing my best to spend time processing my thoughts, observing my feelings and the impact they have on my body, and setting goals and aspirations for the future. With a bit of a nudge from my boyfriend, I have remembered how vital it is to be present in the moment, to live freely and to be aware of your behaviours and the effects they have on others. When life has challenged you in ways beyond the scope of what you believed you could handle, it's very easy to get caught up in the emotions and to pick up unhealthy behaviours too.
Checking in with yourself is important. Setting some time aside to sit down, allow yourself to feel whatever it is that needs to be felt, to process whatever has happened and release any pent up stress or emotions, is a massive part of healing. It may sound like hippie spiritual wish wash to some, but I can promise you now that it is absolutely essential for you to fully heal and recover.
I have to say, it's only been 4 days in what I believe is paradise, and I feel revitalised already. I needed this, more than I could actually explain.
You don't have to go on extravagant holidays or fly around the world to achieve any of this. I know that my happy place is when I’m immersed in nature and I am unbelievably fortunate enough to be able to come to places like this. I count my lucky stars constantly that I am able to explore exotic destinations and spend a large amount of time in awe and exceptionally grateful for the experiences. Although these moments are absolutely magical and help me heal in many ways, they are not the only way to do it. It most certainly is not necessary to travel to exotic locations just to feel rejuvenated and importantly, it must be noted that if not considered carefully, travelling can place a large amount of stress on the body and therefore be somewhat counterproductive. In fact, you could simply change your scenery and feel revitalised instantly. But, no matter where or what brings you calm, relaxation and rejuvenation, be it big or small, extravagant or low key, allowing yourself some down time and self love is a gigantic piece to the healing puzzle - and something that I encourage whole heartedly.
You are the only you you have. Loving and respecting yourself largely influences the resilience and strength you have and improves your ability to overcome challenges.
Allow yourself some time and give yourself a little love and pampering! You won't regret it.
Sending love all the way from paradise (Zanzibar),