Bringing Vacay to the Everyday

Whipping up some vanilla-glazed roasted bananas

Last month was a game changer for me.  Why?  Because I cooked on two wellness retreats and fed a total of twenty-six women health-supportive, nourishing meals.  And although I was living out my wildest dreams, what I learned is not what you’d expect.

The first retreat was in sunny Puerto Rico with the girls of Bliss Out Retreats.  They practiced yoga, surfed, and tanned, while I grilled, sautéed, and simmered healthy, clean, seasonal meals.  As a lover of the great outdoors, it was a non-negotiable for me to have time under the vast open sky no matter how long I was in the kitchen.  Every morning I woke up extra early to watch the rising sun.  The girls caught their ZZZ’s, and I climbed to the roof deck for some vitamin D, fresh air, peace of mind, and quiet time to reflect on all the love I was gifting to their bellies.

A few short days after feeding the Puerto Rico yogis, I was on my way to Cape Cod with my friend and healer, Natalie Berthold.  Those attending her retreat came to experience deep, spiritual healing.  With that, the food needed to be not only delicious, but also cleansing, grounding, and detoxifying.  With everything coming up for these women, the food needed to quite literally bring them back to earth and nourish their healing souls.  Still, with so much time spent in the kitchen, I snuck away to the beach every day to feel the sunshine on my face, stick my toes in the water, and feel the great outdoors around me. 

On both retreats, my solo dates with nature brought waves of pleasure. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming gratitude for where I was, what I was bringing to the table, and relish in the healing all of this brought back to me in the process – truly a dream come true.

I am also blessed to have had the opportunity to see two beautiful landscapes in the span of just a few short weeks – the abundance of fresh air, mother nature, and a reminder that this world is so vast and expansive.  It’s the kind of feeling that quenches the thirst I didn’t know I had until I’m back in the great outdoors.  I didn’t want it to end!

And I was not alone.  At the end of both retreats, the girls were sad to go, sad to say goodbye to one another, and sad to return back to their daily grinds.  I can’t deny the incredible feeling of “getting away,” witnessing such gorgeous landscapes, and unplugging from the day-to-day monotony.  How many times have we all said, “I don’t want to go to work on Monday!  Can’t we stay a few more days?” 

But if you ask me, one of the keys to a balanced, happy life is to achieve that pleasurable feeling a little bit every day.  No, it’s not realistic to quit our day jobs, jet set around the world every day of the week, and live on a never-ending vacation.  But we must recognize that we are living creatures that thrive on pleasure, love, and connection.  It’s what makes us human after all.  Feeling that pleasure, love, and connection DAILY is essential to a healthy life.  Without that spiritual food, we reach for vices to fill the void -- shopping, sugar, drugs, you name it.  We all have our vices.

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It’s possible to invite this balance into our lives no matter where we are on our journey.  When I was working a 9-5 job, I made an effort to get outside daily, walk around the neighborhood, and feel the sunshine on my face.  Now, I make sure I’m physically moving in some way, talk to at least one friend just because, and turn off technology at night a few hours before bed so I can unplug and just BE – every single day.   I’ve found the little things that bring me calm – a delicious mug of tea, the occasional back massage, or cooking myself a scrumptious home-cooked meal – and I work them into my daily routine.  They have become as important and habitual as brushing my teeth.  Non-negotiables.  They bring the same inner joy and weightlessness I feel when I’m away on vacation so I can say goodbye to those yo-yo extremes, and call in more balance and joy to my day to day. 

And that, my friends, is how I bring vacation into my everyday life.  You tell me – how do you bring the vacay into your every day?  I’d love to hear your go-to’s so I can give it a whirl!