The Ultimate Act of Self-Love

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+ Travel is an essential part of my self-care ritual 

It's 12 am, I'm flustered with a slight 'tude because I'm up later than I want to be (I am NOT a night person, at all) ... where's are all my morning people at? I'm scouring the web for flights and I find myself hitting roadblock after roadblock. After about an hour of my aggressive search, I get an email confirming my 4 night, 5-day stay at Residenza d'Epoca in Florence, Italy. I am so happy I started catching the holy ghost. Not because I was looking forward to walking those beautiful European cobblestone roads again—and not just because I was going to have the pleasure of indulging in delicious pasta and wine…

I'm ecstatic because I know I'm taking care of myself...mentally and spiritually.

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It sounds counterintuitive but traveling has been the key component to staying happy and healthy at home. Research has shown that traveling forces you to adapt to new environments and embrace new experiences. I grew up a very shy kid with many, many insecurities. Being in large crowds and public speaking were at the very top of my insecure list. I felt a sense of overwhelm every time I stepped into a room full of folks I didn't know, but I grew tired. I grew tired of the anxiety that stemmed from working too much (Hello NYC), with very little time to get away and recharge. I started traveling solo a couple of years ago, forcing myself to break the habit of living fearfully. In 2017, there were over 650 million unused vacation days in the United States, young women being the most unlikely to use those hours.

Self-care is more than just bubble baths and taking yoga classes. Sometimes we need something bigger, something that’ll uproot ourselves in a major way. I don't shop very often, so the money that most people spend on those $300 pairs of shoes goes directly to my self-care fund. It’s not a “vacation”, it’s a self-care necessity for me to maintain optimum health that's non-negotiable.  A well-planned trip to the furthest place on the globe is highly unnecessary to reap the mental and spiritual benefits travel has to offer. Short weekend trips to the country will suffice.

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One of the best ways you can nurture your mind and spirit is through travel. It allows us the space to have a learning experience, a personal one guaranteed to enrich our lives in a major way. When we are open to that experience and feel a sense of gratitude, we naturally drop the stress, anxiety and overwhelm without the need for medicine. Harmonious experiences rewire our nervous system and serotonin( happy hormones) begin to reproduce in our body. Travel gives you the beautiful opportunity to live life through another set of eyes. It’s not indulgent or self-righteous, it’s choosing to prioritize my health without compromise.

So, plan that self-care trip and watch your life change for the better.

Spread your wings and fly, baby. — FLY!

All my love,
  Shani

 

hav•enSHANI HILLIAN