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Hit the Road: How to Fill Your Tank by Emptying It


“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

-Eleanor Brown

When was the last time you actually listened to those safety instructions flight attendants rattle off as you push back from the gate? It had been a minute for me - and by a minute I mean that the last time I paid attention to the safety announcements, smoking was still permitted on the aircraft. So I went ahead and tuned in recently, and it turns out not much has changed since the smokin’ 70s. The nearest exit may still be behind you, items in the overhead bins continue to shift during flight, and they still want us to put the oxygen masks on ourselves before assisting others. What an inspiring message about self-care! Am I right??

Speaking of self-care, how’s that going for you? My guess is you could use a friendly reminder that you need to be securing your own oxygen mask before assisting others outside the plane too. Maybe for you, that just means going to the bathroom a couple times a day with zero children hanging from your limbs. Or maybe reclining on an ancient bamboo mat in a field of wildflowers whilst 143 Tibetan monks chant soothing words of encouragement is more your speed. It’s really just a matter of recharging — doing what it takes to fill your cup to full and overflowing so you can serve those around you and generally live your best life. And what better way to do that than one of the most overlooked (but effective!) forms of self-care under the sun: traveling.

If you haven’t been looking at travel as a means of self-care, now is the perfect time to start! Literally leaving our comfort zone serves us on so many levels. Seeing/hearing/eating new things stimulates our brains in ways we just can’t replicate at home. Getting out of our routine opens our hearts and minds to new ideas not just while we’re traveling, but after we return home as well. And that pure, unstructured vacation fun is a magical antidote to the stresses of everyday life. When the temptation to do a quick load of laundry - or six - is removed, we’re free to nap, play, dance, sing! Truly live in the moment. We can unplug, disconnect and discover that the world will go right on spinning whether we respond to that email right this minute or not. And that can lead to a healthier relationship with our technology (and our loved ones) long after we’ve washed the last few grains of sand from our toes.

The bottom line is that going somewhere you want to go and doing what you want to do when you get there is an incredibly empowering way to feed your soul. Sure sounds like self-care to me! The perspective and renewed appreciation for your home that you gain are no more self-indulgent luxuries than putting your oxygen mask on first — of course you benefit, but everyone around you does too. So go ahead. Set sail! Channel your inner Jack Kerouac. Fly a hot air balloon around the world. Your self will thank you.

Wanna get away? Start here:

1. Dream a little (day) dream. Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to go? A place that keeps catching your eye on Instagram? Maybe it’s the next town over, maybe it’s Paris, maybe it’s Timbuktu.

2. Branch out. Try to think of some places you haven’t visited before. Adding an element of adventure to your travels will give you the most bang for your buck.

3. Get real. Figure out what’s realistic for your current budget and time availability. Timbuktu might be something to plan for next year, but Yosemite might just work right now.

4. Commit. Commit to taking this time for yourself - no excuses, no guilt. Remember — you deserve it and so do all the people who depend on you.

Now put those portable electronic devices in airplane mode and prepare for takeoff. Ready … set … GO!

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