As important as I KNOW my spiritual and mental practices are, I often used to leave them to chance. Even early this year, when personal and business issues required extra support, my practices were spotty. I’d meditate, but not everyday. I’d take walks, but overrode my body’s signals to go outside a lot of the time. I’d drink water, but not enough. I took my Athletic Greens veggie supplement most days, but not all.
I was half on, half off my spiritual and health wagon. And I knew from years of experience that whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, or exhausted, it’s because I wasn’t paying attention to my basic practices. Not paying attention made me feel heavy, overwhelmed, and like I couldn’t “handle” it all.
It didn’t happen overnight. The consistent “forgetting” or lack of attention added up to make me feel out of whack.
The last six months I took a different road, mainly out of necessity.
I devoted myself regularly to the practices that made me happy and supported me at a deep level, and saw that it came down to one thing:
Maybe it’s maturity that comes with age, or simply making the same mistakes over again until you’re sick and tired of yourself, but this time I was prepared.
When I went on vacation with my family to Puerto Rico a few weeks ago, I was prepared like a spiritual ninja. I knew I needed to maintain my practices – especially meditating, keeping hydrated, drinking my greens, writing, and choosing to feel my feelings instead of acting from them. I knew I needed to bring my supplies with me for the day to day, so that I could enjoy the vacation.
I readied myself before I left and found HUGE success, happiness, and enjoyment from being prepared and continuing my practices.
We hadn’t been on a family vacation in 20 years (all together) and it was wonderful. We had lots of laughs, got in beach time, and it was exactly what we all needed.
But I couldn’t have done it without being prepared.
Here’s 6 ways I did it and kept myself happy, healthy, and supported.
1) I knew a week of vacationing with my family might trigger me in certain areas – mainly marriage and kids. It might sound lame, but even though it’s laced with love, I still get triggered. So I talked to my therapist, a friend, and my coach about working with the triggers; What would I do if they said, “Google is hiring,” or “When will you have kids?” I prepared for those moments by being aware of my triggers and having a calm action plan when I started to feel them. This worked like gangbusters while on vacation.
2) I brought my Athletic Greens mix and drank it every morning. Each day I felt energized and like I was taking care of my health even though I ate EVERYTHING wherever we went.
3) I stocked up on loads of water so I didn’t have to keep getting it from room service or depend on others. I actually bought it for everyone so we’d have enough water all the time. It sounds so simple, but this made me feel very good. Water is the one thing you can consistently give yourself to feel energized, hydrated, less tired, less hungry, less cranky. It’s kind of a miracle self-care tool because it’s so simple.
4) I brought my altar, or parts of it so I could maintain my meditation and prayer every morning. I woke up early each day and took a couple hours of solo time to set intentions, write, meditate and nourish myself before the day started. Alone time is non-negotiable for me and is the most nourishing thing I give myself. I stole an hour whenever I felt I needed it.
5) I had conversations with the little Ishita inside me to reassure her and give her what she needed when I got triggered. This was new, but a super helpful practice.
6) I didn’t over-give, over-involve, over-help with anyone, family included, when I didn’t need to. We had LOADS of fun but there’s a line between getting involved when you need to, and letting a story or drama make you feel like you need to get involved. Sometimes sitting on the sidelines is exactly the help someone needs.
So that’s how I prepared myself and felt super supported, replenished, and actually enjoyed myself on vacation. I don’t feel relaxed if I don’t take my greens or don’t meditate, because it’s on my mind all day.
And lots of times we go into situations thinking that we’ll be all right, that we don’t need to prepare, but then we get hit sideways by our triggers or family or circumstances, and don’t know what to do about it! Usually, by then it’s just
The goal isn’t a strict discipline, it’s remembering that supporting yourself is a full-time job, and if you really want to FEEL good, you need to prepare for it.
YOU have to do it. Your family won’t remember your specific needs. Waiters can’t always bring you things (although you should always ask for what you want, because you’ll probably get it), there won’t always be time once everyone wakes up to get alone time.
It’s up to YOU.
So bring the things that comfort you. Sleep early if you need to. Buy lots of water. Whatever it is, it is such a huge act of self respect to prepare and support yourself how you need to. I’m still learning this because I KNOW how it feels when I forget and I have to learn it again.
Support yourself by preparing and getting to know yourself. It might take years. But a happy life, loving your work and the people you’re around, feeling good about yourself, doesn’t just happen overnight. It comes from small acts of preparation and consistently respecting the things that support you.
Then doing those things regularly.
Respect what you need by preparing for it, and that’s when you’ll see progress and results.