One of the best things I have ever done that my mental health has benefited from, is using solo travel as a form of self-care. Each time I travel solo I find more ways to love myself. As a 33-year old woman, I learned about self love and self care very late in life. I started this self love and self care journey a few years ago while going through a depression. During that depression I decided to go on a trip with my best friend and her family to Europe. I had no idea that this trip would be a life changing event for me. However, it was on this trip, in a countryside in Italy, that I realized that being out of my environment was actually pulling me out my depression. I started hearing God clearly and listening to my intuition more, thus beginning my healing process. Although I was not on a solo trip at the time, I felt completely alone on my journey to self love and self care but oddly enough I loved every minute of it.
It took me a while to realize that self care is in fact not selfish, but once I did, I decided that whenever I felt a depression spell coming on I would book a solo trip. Everyone needs time to themselves to be able to fill their cups back up. The saying “You cannot pour from an empty cup” remains true. It is important to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Solo trips can be used to fill your cup back up with love, energy, and peace.
My Guide to Self-Care as a Solo Traveler:
1. Journaling: You will be surprised how much better you feel when you put pen to paper. Always write what you are feeling down. It is important to be open and honest with yourself. I have had many epiphanies through journaling.
2. Meditate with my favorite crystals: My two (2) favorite stones to meditate with are my Rose Quartz (for healing the heart chakra), and my Selentine (for opening my third eye chakra). Meditating without crystals is perfectly okay as well. The purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and to bring clarity. Meditating bring total peace to the mind and body.
3. Take myself to dinner: Asking for a “table for one” was one of the hardest things I have done. I was obsessively preoccupied with what other people would think of me if they saw me eating alone. But honestly who cares what other people think? Live for yourself. The first time I took myself out to dinner was amazing. My favorite part about it was not having to fill silence with pointless conversation with someone I probably did not have any interest in. In the words of Yrsa Daley-Ward, “Romance your damn self.
4. Read a great self-help/inspirational book: There is nothing like sitting by a pool or by the ocean reading a good book that inspires you. Books that inspire me to be better or a book that makes me feel like I am not the only one going through something are my favorite books to read. I often re-read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho when I am on vacation just because it inspires me to get my goals and intentions in order. It is like a reminder to myself to make sure I am focusing on my passion and my dreams.
5. Explore the city: You will be surprised how much you have in common with total strangers. Sometimes learning about other cultures puts your problems into perspective and you may realize some of your problems are not problems after all. Exploring the city you are visiting can bring pure joy. You can meet new people and learn about other peoples’ cultures. Say YES to new friends!.
6. Relaxing Bath (With Essential Oils) or Spa Treatment: Spa treatments are the perfect way to relax on a solo trip. Getting a massage or facial is pretty much the epitome of self care. There is no going wrong with whatever spa treatment you choose. Hot stone massages are my favorite! Sometimes going to the spa isn’t always in the budget, so I often opt for long baths with added drops of lavender essential oil. One of the benefits of lavender oil is reducing anxiety and stress. It is also a sleep aid which is why I usually put it in my bath before bed.
This guide can be followed in your daily, everyday life as well. However, for me its almost impossible with my work schedule. By the time I get home in the evenings I just want to sleep and on the weekends I am playing catch up with things I should’ve done during the week, thus making it hard to find time to just relax. I choose solo travel because it helps me take a breather and re-energize when life gets overwhelming and stressful. Conversely, if you can’t take a trip somewhere, take a day off when nobody else is home, treat yourself to a day at the spa, or book an overnight hotel stay in your city. Just as long as you take the time out to take care of yourself. When you treat yourself well, you set the standard for how others must treat you.