3 R's of Self-Care: Rest, Relax, Recharge!

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Earlier this month, I went on a 6-day trip to Cancun with one of my close girlfriends. I hadn’t gone anywhere all year so this was my one “big trip” of the year. I normally take it in the springtime, but between my health and work being really crazy I pushed back any travel.

Some months ago, when my girlfriend told me about the Cancun trip and confirmed that her husband wasn’t going, I decided to jump at the chance for us to do a “Girls Trip 2.0”! We’d gone to the Dominican Republic a few years ago for her birthday.

I was so stressed and had a lot of anxiety about how I was going to travel internationally with my fibromyalgia. I deal with so much fatigue, aches and pains that to tell you the truth a small part of me wasn’t looking forward to the “travel” part of the trip to get to/from Cancun. My luggage was over 50 pounds and almost as tall as me!

But, I’m happy to report that I had no problems getting down there or upon my return. I took advantage of help from the airport and hotel bellcaps, airport luggage carts, and airline agents any chance I got for the heavy lifting. My girlfriend even helped pull it off the baggage claim belt too!

Once we got to the resort, I was in tropical heaven! Truly my dream “happy place” is near a tropical ocean view. There is nothing more beautiful than the colors of the ocean (past the brown seaweed that is!). My bucket list is to visit as many of the world’s most beautiful beaches as possible. There is just something so magical in the Caribbean air! It washes away all my stress and anxiety with just one breath.

I know I haven’t really written about “life after a Narcopath” nor about my challenging journey dealing with a chronic pain illness like fibromyalgia. That is all in the works. Trust me, you want to be fully prepared for the pain and any sort of flare-up. So, I “snuck” my vape pens and cartridges in my luggage and carry on to ensure I had my “medicine” in case of a flare up. I took my edible gummies and tablets, topical balms and even my heating pad!

I was completely SHOCKED when I needed NONE of it while I was on my trip! I had made a commitment to myself to try and “detach” from work even though I knew I’d get the emails over WiFi on my phone. Now as a blogger unplugging completely was not an option. I did post pictures to SpunkyDiva Diaries’ social media sites, but that was it. No blogging. No writing. No journaling even. It was my time to “REST, RELAX & RECHARGE”! And, that’s exactly what I did.

I spent the first 4 days at the swim-up pool as much as possible…and I have the sunburn to prove it! We got up and at breakfast every morning and then off to the pool. I slept in. I rested. I drank amazing cocktails. I had them custom make a pineapple margarita with Milagro tequila and called it “The Lola.” I ate some delicious food - my favorite was the Indian restaurant called Basmati. I smoked some fine cigars that I brought along on the trip. I danced at a wedding I attended with my girlfriend. She coordinated and was in her friend’s wedding. While I was probably the “oldest” one in the group that was there (about 75-80 ppl), I had just as much fun as those youngsters! I had one of the most amazing massages in my life at the resort’s spa. And one of the things I absolutely LOVED the most was that for 6 days I spoke Spanish for most of the trip. It came as natural as I felt “at home” in Cancun!

And during my trip, I didn’t ache. I didn’t hurt. I wasn’t fatigued. Lucky for me, my fibro took a vacation too! Instead…I was HAPPY. I was at PEACE. I felt GOOD. I was RELAXED and at total ZEN. If only I could bottle that up and take it back to Maryland with me! The only issues I had was taking care of my sunburned skin - I got really dark and burned from too much pool time and not enough sunscreen. But, I’m not complaining!

I did take an extra day off work when I got back to “recoup” from the vacation. So my work week was short on both ends of my trip which I kind of liked. My friends commented on how “zen” and relaxed I was upon my return. They said they’d never seen me like that. I’m trying hard to hold on to that for as long as I can. I know it will wear off when the work stress kicks back up in high gear. Or, when my health issues flare up and I’m in excruciating pain from head to toe. Or, when the cold weather sets in and leads to that white, flaky stuff we call snow.

Self-Care Doesn’t Have to BIG

Self-care doesn’t have to be something elaborate or expensive. I try to do one big trip a year though, but I can’t always afford to take a big one. While I learned I do need to get away more often, self-care is so much more than travel. And, it is something you must make a frequent practice of doing - once a year is unacceptable!

I try to do an act of self-care on a daily basis or at least multiple times a week. It can be a bath, a good long nap, a mani/pedi, a massage or treating yourself to something. Buy a new dress, new pair of jeans, new purse or something for your home. Whatever it is that makes YOU HAPPY and is for only YOU - DO IT!

For instance, I love Star Wars, Hello Kitty and collect pineapples. I enjoy a yummy smelling candle and super soft blankets & clothing. My favorite colors are pink, green and all things blingy & sparkly. But sometimes, I just need total darkness and silence for a good nap to recharge my body. With a chronic pain/illness, I have learned the necessity of listening to my body and what it needs. Honor your body and your emotions to take care of yourself!

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Lessons Learned From My Trip

What I’ve learned is that I need to “decompress” from my hectic, stressful life more often! Maybe it’s not a 6-day tropical vacation, but I need to unplug and unwind SOMEWHERE other than my apartment and even the state I live in. I need to do more “getaways” from time to time.

What I’ve learned is just how much my “environment” affects my health. The fact that I had absolutely NO fibro pain which I deal with daily at home was so eye opening!

What I’ve learned is that I am truly blessed and thankful for the opportunity to go to Cancun and for great friends! My finances may not be what it could or should be, but I love the friends I have who can work with me to make stuff happen. So much of my anxiety is about money and finances. It’s a long story, but after leaving my Narcopath ex-husband I had to start over from scratch financially. The resort was “adults only” but more like a couples resort. But, I learned that I don’t need a man, spouse or partner to travel the world. I have a network of amazing women who love to travel as much as I do! I haven’t been bold enough to travel internationally solo or with one of these female travel groups, but I just might one day. #TravelGoals

What I’ve learned or rather what I was reminded of was just how much I LOVE to TRAVEL! This trip has motivated me to really be more focused and do a better job to get my finances in order to travel more. There are too many places I want to go and see in this world. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. I need to focus less on acquiring “things” and more on new life “experiences” since that will make me “richer” in the long run.

Remember, self-care is NOT a luxury!

It is a “divine responsibility” and something you owe to yourself.

So big or small - get out there and “Rest, Relax & Recharge”!