1) Never neglect your "me time."
2) Take the utmost care of your body and your mind.
3) Never pass up an opportunity.
Not long after I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, I was given an art photograph of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. I have had that photo on my wall ever since, and from the moment I saw it, I said, quite vehemently:
"I WANT TO GO TO THERE."
Aaah, but life got in the way. Not that I was sitting back on my laurels-- my schedule was filled with great things like education and clients and travel to places all over the country and the world. I've been extremely lucky to be able to go to so many places and satisfy my wanderlust while hanging out with some of the awesomest people in the strength and fitness biz and beyond. However, none of these trips got me anywhere near Arches.
Not long ago, I was given the honor of being invited to assist at the StrongFirst Level 1 kettlebell certification in Salt Lake City. When I accepted the opportunity, I knew there was no way I was not going to seize on the chance to finally get to Arches. And it could not have possibly come at a better time.
Since my mom died (about 6 months after the unexpected death of my closest childhood friend, Mike) I've been in sort of a weird limbo. I don't know how to explain it. I just feel numb. This is extremely difficult for me, because I am generally a very balanced, extremely happy person. People often ask me what I'm on-- I have way too much energy most of the time, and I just tend to be super-cheery because I love life and see beauty in just about everything. So to go from that to this morose, moody, relatively indifferent alter-ego is very unsettling for me. I have my very good "up" days, when I start to think it's all turning around and I'll be back to normal again, but the strangest things send me into a tailspin. I'll be in the car, for instance, and think, "Oh. I should call Mom..." and then realize I can't. Mother's Day was pretty sucky. Even today, I was asked to sign a wavier form for the StrongFirst workshop, and when I got to the part where I had to enter my emergency contact, I suddenly started tearing up. That used to be my mom.
So, with all this going on, I knew I had to get away for a while by myself, preferably out in nature. Arches was the perfect thing. I took an extra two days off of work, rented a little Fiat, drove four hours from Salt Lake City to Moab, and had a phenomenal experience. It was everything I dreamed it would be. The scenery was breathtaking. I hiked and rock-scrambled well over 12 miles, from trail to trail, till my feet were sore and my shoes were full of red sand. And, perhaps the best part, for six glorious hours, I was unreachable. No email, no phone calls, no text messages, no Facebook, no nothing. You have to understand-- I am a junkie about these things. I am That Person-- the one who shuffles down the street, answering texts. I never wanted to be That Person, but my phone/email/texts are fairly endless because of what I do for a living (and also, I am very unfortunately but inextricably addicted to Facebook). I love what I do, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it requires me to be connected most of the time. So I am. It's really freeing to disconnect, even if it's just for a few hours. I was in the very unusual but very needed position of not needing to worry about anyone but me, and I needed that at this time in my life more than anything else.
I think people underestimate the power of a little "me time." I honestly don't know how people do without it. I start work at 5:30AM and finish at 7:30PM with a small break from 1:00-4:00 to myself (more or less, depending on the day). That block of time is sacred to me-- I answer emails, have lunch, take a nap, unwind, snuggle my dogs and cats. It is my time to ground myself and take care of me. I really think everyone should take some time to themselves each day-- even if it's just 5 minutes. Take yourself to a movie. Have dinner for one at your favorite restaurant. Meditate in your office for a few minutes. Lock yourself in the bathroom and have a nice, hot, uninterrupted shower. Something. Anything. You deserve that time, and you'd be surprised how valuable it can be to your sanity.
As for me, I recognized my need for a little more than my usual "me" time, so I made it happen. It was a little tough, financially, to take the extra time off of work, but it was worth that and more. I feel like I've pressed a big reset button on myself, and I feel like my mental and emotional needs have been addressed for the time being. Life is good. Very good.
So yes-- take opportunities that come your way. Pay attention to what your body needs. And never, ever take your "me time" for granted-- put it in your schedule if you have to. It's worth every precious second.
|Delicate Arch!! Melody wuz here!!|
Oh, and on a side note-- you know how I'm always blabbing on about how astaxanthin is such an awesome supplement? Well, one of the things it does is protect the skin from the sun. And let me tell you this-- for 6 hours, I was hiking in BRIGHT DESERT sun, with little to no shade. I did not wear sunscreen. Normally, I would have spontaneously combusted. I did not even get a little bit sunburned. It's pretty awesome.