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Living in New York, you can easily find yourself very busy. Overloaded. Overwhelmed.
This is by design. Here’s what I mean —
Frankly, New York is not an easy place to live – it’s expensive, the weather’s disrespectful, it’s smelly and dirty and, well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Why do we New Yorkers put up with all this? Because of all the cool, unique opportunities and activities that are only found here in the The Big Apple.
That said, from sun up to sun down I’m doing SOMETHING. Something to meet new people, try out new things, pursue my dreams. Rest? That’s a luxury. I’m not complaining, but…
After three years of enduring the hustle and bustle in New York, plus being worn down by corporate america and suddenly finding myself a newly single mom of a fur baby, I looked up and found myself drained. On top of being tired and burned out, I had anxiety. Maybe even depression. On top of ALL of that, my skin was pale, had dark circles under my eyes, and was out of shape.
I was a mess – mentally and physically.
Sleeping in on weekends helped. Talking to friends helped. Therapy helped. Working out helped…but something was missing. I still felt…anxious, but couldn’t put my finger on why. Realization #1: I couldn’t fully change my circumstances while I was still knee deep in my circumstances. I needed a change of scenery.
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I needed to reset. To remove myself from all my stressors in NYC, I had to get away…far far away.
So I went to the other end of the world. Literally. I took a 20 hour journey to Bali (my therapist called it my “Eat, Pray, Love” trip. I hadn’t read the book or seen the movie, so I bought it on the Amazon app as I left her office. Lol.)
While that long trip may sound like torture, I found peace in the travel alone because that was part of my healing journey. An old friend used to say “enjoy the journey” and I’m trying to embrace that and not always be rushing to the finish line.
I arrived to the island of Bali with glimmers of hope in my spirit. You know why? Because I slept on those flights, ALOT… my body needed uninterrupted slept not riddled with guilt in thinking about all the things I should be doing. Nope, I slept and slept….and slept guilt-free.
All the things I immediately found upon touching down in Bali that gave me peace and happiness: sun, warmth, nature, cleanliness, positive energy, fresh air, polite people smiling. Oh, and: SOLITUDE and STILLNESS.
Once I could process simple thoughts, then I process more complex thoughts. I was finally able to prioritize the things that matter versus the things that don’t. I could make decisions about things that had been lingering and accumulating in my head. Also, my memory sharpened (before this, things had been cloudy).
I don’t meditate much (yet) but this is what I imagine the benefits of meditating to be — slowing down so that your brain and body can rest and recalibrate. That way, when you’re ready to be active again, your brain and body are synced, moving in the same direction and at the same pace.
This was my last day going for my last meal before heading to the airport. Much more relaxed than when I left on my journey less than a week before.
Since being back to NY, my energy has been high, I’ve been calmer, more positive, less anxious, and more deliberate with my actions. I’m living more in the present, not overloading myself trying to rush to an imaginary finish line, and resting when my body tells me to. It feels good to be enjoying the journey.
I got this lovely blue caftan from Morocco. A couple similar-ish versions from Amazon are below. Also, the book that I’m curious to read coming off the trip – Eat, Pray, Love – is below as well.
Sabrina Smith is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.