You can’t take a vacation from yourself

About five months ago, I committed to practicing and learning more about meditation.

So many people I knew and respected were doing it, so maybe I should give it a go, I thought.

I started working with a meditation coach and began meditating (almost) every day. I built up a habit and triggers to initiate that habit, and eventually worked meditation into my daily routine.

What was most interesting to me is that I didn’t see the benefits of meditating after making it a habit. I saw them after I broke that habit.

In the past four months, there have been two instances where I stopped and thought to myself,

“Holy shit, I need to meditate.”

And both times were when I was on vacation. 🌴

Now if you’re thinking that my vacations weren’t relaxing, you’re wrong.

When your life is filled with ups and downs (for example, one year of traveling and working remotely with 50+ other people that become like family and then that lifestyle suddenly ends), you need to process it, think about it, and digest it. And all of that processing doesn’t just stop when you go on vacation.

For me, one way of processing is meditation.

Most recently, in Hawaii, I sort of accidentally took a week off of meditating and journaling daily.

I took a vacation from self care.

My mistake?

Yeah, because you can’t take a vacation from yourself.

After a week of little to no self care (but a few Mai Tais and a lot of relaxing by the pool), I felt it all pile up. It felt like my brain was a little puddle and it was overflowing with thoughts, but I was just letting it sit there.

I wasn’t sleeping well. I felt fuzzy, clogged. I didn’t process anything.

Melissa Brown, my friend and colleague, says, “As the man sweeps daily, I practice self-care daily.”

And I think that’s a really good tip.

We need to remember that self care is important for all of us, even when nothing is “wrong.” Making your personal mental health a priority means making you a better person in all aspects of life — work and play.

So the next time you go on vacation, enjoy the Mai Tais, but have ’em after you’ve meditated on the beach for a bit.