What I’m taking back home with me

This past weekend, I traveled alone. As much as I missed my family -I had a couple of rough moments being away from Liv- I know it was good for me. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and all that stuff, right? I knew she was having a blast with her daddy and that I needed to take this awesome opportunity to relax, come back refreshed, and just enjoy my surroundings.

Bead tree

At first, I didn’t like feeling alone and had a lot of time to think. Time to think about who exactly I want to be when I grow up, the type of wife and mom I want to be (a “good” one, of course, but how), the things in life that truly matter, and time for silence. I realized that some days, I talk pretty much all day and my brain-to-mouth filter had become defunct. There were spans of hours this weekend where I didn’t utter a single word, whether I was driving in the car (about 9 hours of driving), on a flight, or just walking around the property. Just thinking.

Labrinth

(Climate-controlled hall links all of the buildings, so you can stay indoors but still take in the soundings when it’s snowing or raining)

Hall

What I realized, affirmed and learned:

-A lot of my “busyness” is self-imposed, which I knew, but this trip confirmed that. It’s almost like busyness has become token of pride or competition in our culture (“well let me tell you how busy and crazy things are!”) and it’s ok to not be busy all the time. Yes, there are a thousand things to do during a day, whether you have kids or babies or not, but it’s ok to relax every now and again. It still blows my mind that we’re one of the only cultures that doesn’t take a daily nap- can we get on that, please?

Hammock 2

For me, it had gotten to the point where every time Liv was sleeping, I was blitzing through the house cleaning, working on blog posts, taking pictures, trying to do many things very quickly and burning my proverbial candle on as many ends as possible. I’m going to be more mindful of that when I get home, continue to prioritize, and give myself a little bit of down time each day, even if it’s just 15 minutes to do a yoga flow or read a book. If anything, I’m just going to sloooooooow down. 

-Speaking of relaxing, I learned some interesting techniques to quiet my mind, listen to my body and truly meditate. I went to a healing energy lecture, which focused on the 7 chakras and using healing touch to relax and center our minds. It can also help to promote healthy immune function and decrease the likeliness of stress-associated illnesses (which is a lot of illnesses). After the practice, my entire body was buzzing, similar to acupuncture without the needles. Bonus: it’s something I can do anytime, at home before bed, or just when I feel anxiety/stress creeping up.

7chakraSource

The techniques I learned are here, and something that helped with first closing our eyes and placing our palms together for about 30 seconds. Then, bring your palms apart about 3 inches and move in and out, very slowly to feel your body’s natural energy. Next, go through these steps, eyes closed and breathing deeply.

-Technology is DRAINING. Something about putting my phone away, not having the TV on, and enjoying nature made me feel so much more energized, present and productive. I rested a lot on my trip, but I also felt invigorated while I was there. I feel like getting away for a little while inspired me in so many different ways. It also made me realize how much time I waste lurking Facebook and checking my phone. 

-Little breaks feel great. It reaffirmed the fact that as a mom, when you’re giving so much to everyone else, you have to give to yourself. I’ve always been a believer that taking a little time for myself makes me a better mom -I feel like I’m more fun and energized when I take care of myself- and taking time for myself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. I used to feel really guilty when I would go to the gym at night while Tom stayed home with sleeping Liv. I even let some hurtful comments on the blog make me feel badly about it, but then I realized that I can’t, and shouldn’t, drop all of the things I enjoy because I became a mom. 

As good as it felt to take a relaxing vacation, it felt a thousand times better to come home and hug and kiss the people I love so much.

I’m a lucky girl to have people in my life to love and miss like that.

-I’m also fortunate that my jobs allow me to do the things I enjoy. I love being able to write this blog (and all of you), and am thankful to also be associated with such an amazing organization. One of the guests at CR told me “you know you work at a miracle place, right? I’m alive today because I came here and made changes in my life. Many people will tell you the same.” I hear stories like that all the time and am happy to spread the word about a mission I fiercely believe in. Thank you again to Canyon Ranch for the opportunity to stay in Lenox.

Cartwhell

-Oh, and one more lesson:

I’m going to start more meals with salad

and end in sorbet ;)

Sorbet

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Comments

  1. Loved reading all of your posts about CR. I’m hoping one day I can afford a stay at one of the resorts- it looks and sounds absolutely wonderful! <3

    I'm happy you got some time to recharge your batteries…I bet you are ready to take on the world now! And you are 100% right- taking time for yourself isn't selfish, it's necessary. You will absolutely be a better mom, wife, friend, blogger, teacher, etc etc for giving yourself some time each day.

    Thanks again for all of the re-cap posts- they were truly inspiring.

  2. I mostly read blogs on my phone, so I don’t get the chance to comment very often. I really wanted to say thank you for this post and several of your other recent posts about being a mom. I’m a new mom who just recently went back to work. I’ve been struggling with my identity as a mom especially as I have returned to work. Anyway, I so enjoy your blog and please keep on doing what you are doing. Your blog is one of the rare ones that feels authentic. :)

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much, liz- that means a lot!
      hang in there with going back to work. you’ll figure out your own groove, but it definitely takes time and adjustment
      sending good wishes to you <3

      • Totally agree! It wasn’t until one of my non mum friends but obviously very smart lady said to me after I’d been a mother for about 2 months that no one prepares you to grieve for your old life because there’s no going back to how life used to be, which I probably found the hardest when adjusting to my new role. If I’d known how much time I’d spend as a new mum working out my new identity, I would have probably done more self work and preparation during pregnancy.

        Thanks Gina, for reaffirming that when we mothers give some time to ourselves (no matter how little or large) we make better parents and way better partners.

        • You are so right – no one told me that I would grieve for my previous life. I was so happy to meet my daughter, but I felt like I had lost something, too. It was very strange seeing as we had difficulties getting pregnant and I had wanted a baby for so long! Oh the hormones! :)

  3. So happy that you had a chance to relax, renew and energize! It’s so important. Don’t let the negative energy or comments get to you.

    Sorry I didn’t get a chance to come down to the cape- my kids were keeping me; I had been travelling earlier in the week.

    Looking forward to recipes!

    -M

  4. I love how refreshing this blog is. I really enjoy reading, and you always inspire. Slowing down? I’m not even sure what that means anymore, but I think I’m going to need to try it.

    Thanks, as always, for wonderful posts!

    • Fitnessista says:

      hahah i felt the same way- i didn’t know what it felt like to turn my brain off. it finally happened, and it was awesome
      thank you so much for reading :)

  5. I’ve been on sick leave from work recently while I go through various testing and medications, and I’ve come to a lot of the same conclusions as you posted here which was so interesting to read. It’s amazing how taking a break from stress and technology can make you feel far more in touch with life than otherwise. And how much time you can waste on tv, etc. I think for me, plugging into the constant technology just helps distract me from dealing with whatever I don’t want to deal with!

    I’m going to try the relaxation technique and see how it works. I’ve downloaded yoga journal’s 30-day meditation starter and so far that has been an interesting experience for my first time trying to meditate x

  6. This was such a nice post to read! I completely agree with you about our culture’s self imposed “busyness” that almost seems like a competition to some people. It’s great to hear that you feel more centered and are going to try to relax more throughout the day instead of trying to cram in as much as possible. I’m having a baby in December and can totally see myself trying to do that when she naps! I find myself having this problem in the evenings after work already. Sometimes, instead of relaxing with my husband, I’ll find myself endlessly “searching” for things online, which really doesn’t benefit me or help me wind down at the end of the day. It does sound like you work at a miracle place :)

  7. I love this post and your reflective thoughts. It’s a reminder that we all need to slow down; and a very interesting point on busyness in our culture. I totally agree. I’m still working on figuring out how to combine my passions with my work, but I realize it’s a journey. So glad you’ve found that!

  8. I don’t think taking time for yourself is selfish, like you said I think it’s necessary. I too am trying to slow down in my days and find more time to just relax and rest. Other countries take midday naps? We need to get on that!

  9. This is such a humbling post! I really enjoyed reading it.

  10. Great post, girl. :) We can’t start more meals with … sorbet, too? ;)

  11. This post was so timely. I just posted last night about how I feel so drained and yet can’t sleep. I think I might read about these 7 chakras and try that meditative thing tonight before bed. Thanks for the idea!

  12. I love this post! I agree with the creating your own busyness assessment. Sometimes I get flack from audience members who ask, “What do you do all day?” I want to say, “What do you do all night?” but instead I patiently explain that I, too, work an eight hour day – it just starts after theirs. I explain that acting is like a “second shift” job, more of a 5pm-1am thing than your good ole 9am-5pm. But I still sometimes put pressure on myself to get up early and not “waste my day” just because that is what the rest of the world is doing! It’s always helpful to remind myself that my life is just slightly outside our cultural norm.

  13. Sounds like an amazing experience! The reflection on it must be just as important as going in the first place…

  14. Just an FYI…one of your favorite almond butters has been recalled! http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/24/14072296-trader-joes-peanut-butter-recall-expands-30-sick-in-19-states?lite

    I know you’ve talked about almond butters and loving TJ’s flaxseed one a lot so just want to make sure you’re aware of it!

  15. Yes ma’am I agree that EVERYTHING should end in sorbet!!! I believe sorbet heals everything.

  16. Jamie Escobar says:

    I am so proud of you! I am on day two of deleting my facebook/instagram accounts and so far- I feel wonderful. I found myself spending so much energy worrying about what other people thought about this, or “if I “like” this will so and so be mad?” or I would compare myself to others when I saw them having so much fun with their life/babies/traveling…etc. while I’m wandering around repeating to myself, “what am I going to do with my life?”
    It wasn’t worth it.
    It took me a couple of months to come to that conclusion- that completely pulling myself off of the sites was/is the only solution that made the most sense.
    Even though I don’t know you, I’ve followed you for years. I always think to myself about how you must react to negative comments on the site. For every thousand people that love you- there will always be that sour puss who has to ruin it with one comment and then- we (if you’re anything like me) internalize it.
    I hate that…The only thing that I can do to help a dear friend of mine (you may not know it, but you have helped me through some major hard times…) is reiterate what the people who TRULY care about you think…
    Gina, you’re amazing! and I am so thankful for your blog.
    EMBARRASSING story #1: The day that you wrote about the pilot being deployed was about two weeks after my hubster left for Afghanistan. That day I left my first comment on fitnessisa saying how the post touched me b/c of the sensitive nature of it.
    You responded to me…
    and it was like meeting Oprah/tanya beardsly…I told all my friends b/c they all know I follow you “GINA WROTE ME! GINA WROTE ME!!!” hahaha!
    I will stop being awkward now.
    Thank you Gina- Thank you for being you- real, honest and relatable.

  17. I love all your trip re-caps! It looks like you had a good time relaxing and taking time for you! But I’m sure its the best feeling coming home to your loved ones :)

  18. Sounds like it was good for your soul! So easy to get super busy, check in online 50 x and not take time out to just be. Don’t feel guilty about going to the gym at night!!! People can be insecure and judgmental, you’re doing a great job.

  19. You’re so right…this post is reminding me of the line “stop the glorification of busy” (don’t remember who said it first). But it’s so true! Being super busy is not always a good thing, everyone needs down time to recharge, I know I do!

  20. I really love this post. I love how you write about things many of us can relate to. As a mom and working full time, I feel like I’m running around constantly and this causes me to stress out. Reading this made me feel not so bad about wanting ‘me’ time. And I agree, that moms need this time in order to re-charge and be a better person.

    Thanks for dedicating a post just to taking it easy and relaxing because we all need this.

  21. Elizabeth M. says:

    Gina, you’re such an inspiration to me! I loved this post! I’m so glad you had some time to relax and have some time to mentally regroup and rejuvenate :) I’m up in the mountains for two days without my husband and puppy and I am excited to relax too :)

    Safe travels home!!

  22. glad you found some down time! you totally deserve it.

    in college I took a class on chakras. read two great books back then on it, and used to be a lot better at it. need to try it again. I need to find ways to de-stress again

  23. Those relaxation tips sound key. I always have a lot of unnecessary anxiety in my life, and know I need to meditate and chill more often. It’s true when you say that we all need a little break from technology. As much as I love it, sometimes I feel like it takes over my life!

  24. What an excellent & refreshing post!

  25. That is the best blog:) i loved all of your tips and things you said about taking a little time for oneself. It is so important, I hope people listen and do a little recharge for themselves. Glad your back.:)

  26. Gina, what an excellent and timely post!! This was my virtual wake up call. You have inspired me to step back and re-evaluate how much pressure and self induced stress I am putting on myself as a mom. I have always made time for my workouts, but the other hours of the day I am doing for everyone else. You have given me much food for thought…… Thank you!!!!

    • Fitnessista says:

      it’s easy to forget to give to yourself and surround yourself with stress. hope you can relax a little and take some you-time :)
      <3

  27. It is always important to remove yourself from your day-to-day life once in a while. I just got back from a visit to my hometown town and I came back refreshed and ready to tackle a busy work week, but with a more positive attitude and realistic goals. I also have the mindset to go go go and be the successful woman we all want to live up to, but it is also important to not miss the simply joys of life and growing up that we can’t relive again. You are right, slowing down is important, as well as making time for yourself everyday, whether it is waking up 15 minutes earlier or putting your work away 15 minutes earlier at night. We all need a moment to think about the present, what is really important, and how lucky we are because life is too short!

    Thank you for sharing and making me realize I am not the only one learning how to slow down and take a moment for myself!

  28. Beautiful post! You give so much and definitely need to take some time for you to do the things you love, zone out and appreciate life. That way when you get back into the busyness you can do it with a new energy.

  29. Great post! I also need to learn to slow down.. so hard in our buy lives!

  30. I agree!!! I have often wondered how you do it all Miss Gina…lately I have been forcing myself to sit down outside and read for thirty minutes a day.

    I try to do it without the phone, computer, or music (aka “the electronic leashes”)…

    I bring my pups outside, and they are perfectly relaxed, staring off contentedly for as long as I sit there. Animals seem to have Zen figured out! ;)

    • Fitnessista says:

      i’ve done a lot since liv has been here, but most of it has been at the cost of my sanity, and the cost of spending more time with people i love. it’s not worth it.

  31. Christina J says:

    I absolutely love this blog post! Being in college, there isn’t a down time between school, sorority, work, and making time for studying and being a college kid! I’m glad you had a post about relaxing and recharging. I feel that everyone needs to take a step back in his/her life and look at it from a different perspective. Thanks again for the amazing blog!

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