After spending a month traveling overseas, I’ve come home with fresh perspectives. It feels like a new year, like I should toast champagne and make resolutions — except the Summer sun is shining and I feel like I could actually make those resolutions last. Upon returning from any sized trip, I immediately have an urge to purge my belongings. Likely triggered by spending time in among people who are not as affluent as North Americans, I reevaluate what I need and don’t need. What I’ve missed, what I’ve been comfortable living without. What is important in my life? It’s an interesting conversation.
This conversation sparks a desire to nest. As much as I loved being on the road, there is a comfort in being home that cannot be paralleled. I take pride in the home I’ve built for myself. The things I surround myself with have been carefully selected as cherished items. They represent me and add to my life on different levels.
What else brings me happiness? I am prompted to reflect on my personal health. Since I’ve been back, I have taken steps towards a happier, healthier life. One area of health that I’ve struggled with for years had been my energy levels. I have been notorious for taking (cat) naps mid afternoon. I have developed a lot of guilt surrounding the subject of the afternoon nap. As a full-time artist, I have the freedom to schedule my time and take a nap whenever I please. However, time away from work conflicts with my productivity and this idea creates anxiety in me.
I have decided not to fight this, but instead I am taking initiatives for this not to have to happen. I am living with conscious intention. I’ve chosen to take proactive steps that are helping me life a fuller life.
Firstly, I believe that getting a restful sleep sets me up for my most productive day. Days before I left for the Philippines I got a new mattress. It was truly a game changer. The Olive mattress is incredibly comfortable, delicately balancing a heaven-like softness that makes dreams happen, and a firmness that supports your muscles for a restful sleep.
While I was away sleeping from hotel to hotel, I had my share of sleeps on different type mattresses and I definitely noticed a difference in sleep quality depending on the type of bed I was in. I developed a sore back and neck towards the end of the trip which affected the activities I could do throughout the day. On my first night back in my home, I climbed into bed and honestly said out loud to my husband “Oh my god, our bed is comfortable”. It was an interesting and unexpected experience to be able to test out so many other beds, and it made me really respect the mattress I get to sleep in every night.
I’ve also changed my diet to include more vegetables and B12 rich foods. I’ve made a pact with myself to eat at least one salad per day. Instead of loading up on heavy carbs I am eating more vitamin rich greens. Getting enough B12 has always been a struggle for me, as I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years. I have never taken any nutritional classes, so I do not want to present myself as any type of expert in this field. What I do know is that I have been tested for it in the past and my levels have been below normal — low enough that I’ve been required to take injections. The most common symptoms of B12 deficiency are weakness, tiredness, and headaches. B12 is naturally found in animal products. As a vegetarian, I am continuously eating more yogurt, cheese, and milk. I am also taking a daily B complex pill to supplement my diet.
Last but not least, I am making myself get physical. This step is the hardest for me. My studio is in my home and I can easily not leave for days at a time. I’ve always been a bit of an extremist. I’m either working hard, or not at all (and away traveling). I’ve had to give myself permission to take breaks. Not only to take breaks, but to have them outside. To move around. It’s amazing how you can get energy from using energy. Again, not a professional on this subject, but I know that it works.