Due to a series of unexpected events at the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to spend 5 days of extreme self-care by myself at the beach. I’d like to share my biggest takeaways with you.
While the country was in complete and utter chaos, (an insurrection, a second impeachment, a raging pandemic, etc.) I was able to calm my body and my mind. The 5 days were the epitome of self-care; relaxing in the cutest little rental, walking to the beach at least once a day, watching sunsets, soaking in a hot tub, meditating, practicing yoga, journaling, drinking wine, eating delicious food, and sleeping a lot.
I am deeply grateful for that time, but that is an understatement. Deep gratitude doesn’t begin to explain it. There aren’t sufficient words to express how I feel about those five days of self-care.
I’ve never experienced anything quite like that before in my life but I sure would welcome more of it in the future!
During the 5 days I experienced a lot of silence and I got to reflect and think about many things. There are the 3 big takeaways on my mind that I will share with you here.
1. I love silence.
If you’re a parent, like me, you’re probably thinking this one is pretty obvious—and it is. Before those 5 days, though, I’d never really experienced silence in that way. I woke up alone, went to bed alone, and spent the day alone. I watched TV a bit and listened to some podcasts and music, but mostly I was alone with my own thoughts.
A friend of mine held a virtual retreat that I participated in at the beginning of my time away. During the retreat she talked a lot about silence. She encouraged us to take times of complete silence without speaking or listening to anything. At first, that seemed challenging but then I realized I loved it and I couldn’t get enough of it!
So, for the rest of my time alone I sat in silence a lot. I journaled, which I rarely do; I colored, which has often been a source of stress for me rather than one of relaxation; and I walked in silence, which is not common for me. Often, when I went walking before, I listened to audiobooks or other recordings, but now I realize the power of silent walks. I notice birds chirping, the sound of my feet on the ground, people talking in the distance, and most importantly I hear my own thoughts. If you haven’t tried taking a silent walk recently, I recommend it! I wonder what you’ll hear?
Since I’ve returned home, I’ve been incorporating some silence into every day. I’ve been practicing a few minutes of silence every morning, taking more silent walks, and coloring and journaling more. Silence is a great practice for observation and reflection and I’m loving how I’m feeling more aware of what’s going around me and inside of me.
2. Extreme self-care is powerful!
I hope it’s a given that self-care is powerful, but in this case, I’m talking about extreme self-care. If you know me, you know I talk about self-care endlessly. I feel like a broken record about self-care. I promote it everywhere and I even have a Facebook group, Take Care of You, dedicated to it.
If you’ve heard me talk about self-care, you may know that I think of self-care in categories: “everyday self-care” is any self-care we do every day like walking, hydrating, listening to music, using oils or candles, etc. and then “extreme self-care” is in a whole other league. For me, extreme self-care is super nourishing and it only happens a few times a year or less. For example, vacations, spa days, or, in this case, getting to be alone for 5 days by the beach.
I’m pretty good at practicing what I preach with self-care but, like many of us, I don’t get much extreme self-care. But every so often I have an extreme self-care experience that is truly amazing and I am once again reminded of its power!
That’s what happened after those five days alone. I loved them while I was having them but afterward, I noticed the effects lasting. I felt lighter, more relaxed, more able to deal with challenges and stresses at home. My time alone was so replenishing, it was literally the gift that kept on giving and even still continues to.
3. No matter how chaotic the world is, there are always constants, and that is comforting.
I watched 5 sunsets over the course of the 5 days I was away—and when I say I watched them, I mean I really watched them. For the first time in my life, I really paid attention to the sun setting. I watched the colors in the sky get deeper and more colorful as the sun set and disappeared. I noticed how the sky continued to change even after the sun was far below the horizon. And as I paid attention to those sunsets, you know what I realized? I had the very obvious realization that that happens every. single. day.
Every day the sun rises and every day the sun sets. No matter who is sick, or what president we have, or what trouble the world is in, the sun always does it’s thing. That realization really brought me profound peace and relief.
I also looked up at the stars every night, not something I do often when I’m living my normal life. And, the same realization came to me about the stars – no matter what is going in the world the stars are there, twinkling and shining. Isn’t it comforting to know that those beautiful wonders of nature are there every day? Reliability is comforting. Routine and dependability are comforting. I certainly find comfort in knowing the sun always rises and sets, and the stars always shine. What reliable occurrences bring you peace?
Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care!
So, among others, those are my 3 big takeaways from my time with myself in a rental by the beach.
To end, I’ll just say that if you have the opportunity to take time dedicated just for you, please take it! If you can give yourself this gift, do it! I know this sounds cliche but it’s so very, very true—self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary.
We may not experience extreme self-care every day and that’s okay. But I hope you can give yourself the gift of “everyday self-care” regularly.