This is my normal.
Last weekend, I was hiking on the Oregon Coast with Daniel through light rain and muddy trails. For someone like me, it was perfect. I love the gray skies of the northwest, and enjoying it feels like I’m spiting the much-too-hot weather we’ve had all summer long.
Then somehow, I was inexplicably talked out of my pants. That is, I ended up in my underwear (which covered just enough skin to pretend they were swimsuit bottoms), waist deep in the freezing cold Pacific ocean while crabs sailed past my legs in the water. (Can’t lie, it was unnerving. The only place that damn water spider belongs is on my plate swimming in butter.) I screamed, laughed, and then we piled back into the car to hit up our post-hike ritual: eating as close to an entire pizza as we can manage. Ah, the things we do when we’re in love (and in desperate need of a carbo-load).
The next morning was a Monday, so I dove right into… cultivating the kinds of details that make a life worth living. After waking up to delicious sunshine on my bed, I pulled out the lipstick, lace top, and skinny jeans. I turned on jazz radio and made a french press of this Honduran roast I’m in love with right now, pulling out soft ciabatta bread from the night before and smothered it in blackberry preserves. Then I sat at my table and wrote for a few hours, did some business planning, and walked through the forest by my apartment.
And the best part of all of it?
This is a weekend like any other. This is my normal. I am so incredibly grateful for that. It took what felt like forever to retrain myself to enjoy the present moment and make it a little richer instead of jumping straight into the hustle.
But it wasn’t always like this.
It’s taken me over a year of intentionally looking at my life and figuring out what I wanted. And often, I found myself frustrated and overwhelmed because there was so much that I wanted to be different. I wanted to make big changes… and I had no idea where to start. So I didn’t. Things stayed more or less the same. I was miserable.
But in May of 2014, my best friend and I both hit the wall. We knew we had to get away. So we escaped up to a retreat in the mountains for two nights. Complete with hot-tubbing, prosecco, yoga, and endless giggles over how we felt like we were getting away with something, it was a great kick-off for a year that ended up being very much about taking tiny steps towards the lives we wanted.
As it turned out, the biggest thing that was missing from our lives was proper self-care. Being mothers, wives, business owners, etc. self-care wasn’t something we had time for.
We neglected ourselves, and our lives ended up neglecting us.
Fast forward to now? Well, you could say we’re a little better at it. You might even call us self-care queens.
The thing is that none of the things that we do to take care of ourselves are taking away from our families. These tiny acts of self-care help us fill back up, and in return, we can show up the way we want to in our relationships and our lives.
We wanted to give you something so what happened to us doesn’t have to happen to you. So we created #tinychallenges, a free 30-day self-care-centric series of prompts to get you back on the path to the life you want.
Because sometimes? It turns out you don’t need a Big Life Change. You just need to take care of what matters — and that means you, too.
Originally published at www.dustiarab.com on August 17, 2015.