Self-care is important to me. So important that I wrote an e-book about it. I implore my clients to develop their own self-care routines, and shamelessly keep to my practice when I know I need it. In many occasions, however, we fall out of habit without even realizing it.
For the entire month of July, I am traveling throughout Europe. You might be thinking that travel in itself is a type of self-care. It is true, getting out of your comfort zone, seeing something new, and being in awe are great practices to get you feeling renewed and energized. However, I know that travel can leave me feeling tired and cranky if I do not balance it with certain self-care practices.
Like life, travel is not always going to be exciting and enjoyable. There are incredible new things to see and experience, people to meet, and plans to be made. On the flip side, there is waiting in line, dealing with the unknown, and considering other people's wishes if you are not traveling solo.
Traveling can often throw our normal routine off balance. You may be exerting more energy than in a normal day, waking up earlier or staying out later, not eating like you normally do. It is easy to throw normalcy to the wind and let yourself go off track. While this is fine for a few days, even a week perhaps, it is not sustainable for long term or frequent travel.
Extended and frequent traveling is more of a marathon than a sprint. One that requires a certain amount of forethought and preparation. Because I know myself and my needs, as I encourage each of you to do as well, I know that I will need to factor in some self-care downtime in order to maintain my sense of peace.
I have mentioned before that it is helpful to set intentions while traveling (i.e. to unplug and relax, learn something new, or be adventurous). This way when you get stressed, exhausted, or worn down, you can remind yourself of what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes we get away from our intentions but can easily guide ourselves back with a reminder and a shift in our actions.
In addition to knowing your intention, it is important to make time for the things that help you feel centered. For example, if your workout routine helps to calm you at home, set aside time on vacation. If cooking is something that is important to you, rent an AirBnB with a kitchen and cook one night.
You can easily immerse yourself in the local culture of your destination while you practice self-care. Research a local park and go for a walk if being in nature helps you to de-stress. Look up a yoga studio and take a class, even if it is in another language. Go to a market to get some authentic food and drinks to have a cooking night.
When you connect to your needs, even while on vacation, you can adapt easier to the changes. It can allow you to have a more personal, unique experience on your vacation. Self-care on vacation will also make your transition back into “real-life” a little less difficult since you will be refreshed and centered.
If you haven't already, check out my self-care e-book, Know Yourself Better to Give Yourself the Best: A Guide to Self-Care.