Self-care is something I have always struggled with. I love running, lifting, practicing yoga, hiking, and meal prepping, but I've always thought I was being selfish by dedicating so much time to myself. It's time I take out of my day that I could be doing something else- working, volunteering, etc.
I recently returned from vacation in Hawaii and the biggest lesson I learned was taking time for yourself is not selfish at all. I'm a perfectionist to the nth degree. No matter if I'm doing something personally or professionally I want it to be done just right. The problem was I had been running myself ragged striving for perfection.
Simply put there is no such thing as perfection.
You can work on something endlessly, but someone, including yourself, is always going to find a reason that it's not good enough.
For the first time in I don't know how long I put my phone away on vacation and ignored emails, texts, phone calls and most communication. I pulled out my laptop probably three times and even then it was only to back up my photos in case something happened to my SD card. Taking time away from technology was so refreshing and it was something I desperately needed.
I'm sure we've all heard the phrase live in the moment, but it's so true. Putting my phone away and just heading out into nature was so refreshing. I went for walks, hikes, and runs without every snapping a single picture. I sat on the beach and listened to waves and just soaked it all up.
Did I take pictures and videos? Of course because I want those things to remember my vacation by and to share with others, but that wasn't on the forefront of my mind. Instead I focused on soaking up all the vitamin D I could (with sunscreen on of course 😉) and just being present.
I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. There were less than perfect moments but I gave my body the rest it needed, both physically and mentally. I still ran and lifted but I did so for pure joy. Running in Hawaii never once felt like a chore because the scenery was so beautiful and there were so many places to explore. I did yoga on the beach and watched the sunrise and left with an incredibly full heart.
Life is meant to be lived in the here and now. Life isn't meant to be lived through a phone screen while trying to portray life as perfect on social media. Life isn't perfect. It's messy, it's chaotic, it's a crazy, unpredictable ride, but life is pretty dang awesome.
There's nothing wrong with taking a break from work and social media to just unplug. In fact it's needed. Take a day and just disconnect. Spend time taking care of yourself and in genuine conversation with other people. I came across some really amazing people in Hawaii and I ran with the same people every morning because I genuinely enjoyed their company and conversation. Had I been on my phone or had headphones in I would have missed those moments.
Disconnect from your devices and connect to yourself and those around you. Since I've been back I've made it a point to take time out every week to take care of me. I don't feel guilty working out or going to yoga because those are moments where I am making myself better by making myself a priority. I've also been doing weekly face masks because it's incredibly relaxing and it gives me some time to just destress.
Self-care is not selfish. By taking time out to make yourself a priority you will see other areas of your life improve and you will be more productive. I know it's made me more productive and it's helped me to manage stress better. So go ahead disconnect and set some time aside for yourself, I promise you won't regret it.