What rest at the beach means for me after last year's burnout.
This summer, I have been travelling extensively, and by extension, pushing my body and my health to their limits! During lockdowns in Italy, I will admit that I sometimes broke from my hypochondria and high anxiety for a moment of gratitude for the opportunity to reflect on and question the regular pace and demands of our day-to-day before 2020. But I also love the nature of my work! I truly look forward to the frenzy of events and activity that come alongside my job as a creative. Many re-assessed their relationship to the phrase “booked and busy”, and rightfully so - but I still find that a full calendar is a strong positive signal on the health of my business.
However, I’ve taken care to be more intentional and strategic in my execution in work obligations. My summer schedule was gruelling! But in preparation, I mapped out the behaviours that I would need to implement in order to emerge healthy and whole. I paid mind to balancing the abundance of food and alcohol at each brand experience. I worked out at every possible chance. I focused on getting regular and consistent sleep that could sustain me through the fray.
And honestly, I made it most of the way through these global work obligations before I feel off track toward the end of my tour. Sometimes being mindful of every detail is challenging when you are trying to live for the moment in real time, and I forgive myself for that. Make no mistake, I would gladly repeat waking up at 4am for days on end to relive some of those moments. I mean… a hot air balloon tour over the Agafay Desert in Morocco?? Not to be missed.
But I can tell you that I crashed on my face from exhaustion a few weeks later in Milan. Now friends, I am absolutely not condoning or encouraging you to run yourself into the ground. For those of you who know better, a slower life is definitely the way to go - and this is the life I have every intention of cultivating on my annual stay in the Hamptons this August.
If you remember my last letter to you, I spoke about the restorative nature of forcing a pause, and the lessons I have learned from it. This year, I am holding myself accountable to creating that peace for myself, even in moments where it is tempting to cave and allow that boundary to be broken.
What does this practice look like for me:
Being intentional with time I share with friends and family.
Spending August in the Hamptons is my happy place: a 15 years long tradition and my way of finding cherished quality time with loved ones. Early on in this tradition, I packed our house with an overflowing rotation of guests - but these days I have realised how absolutely spent I feel at the end of the season, ahead of returning to the reality of work life and one of my busiest periods.
As you can imagine, limiting your guest list when the purpose of your visit is to nourish your bonds with friends is an incredible challenge. But how enjoyable can those moments possibly be when you are coming into them drained from the demands of constant entertainment?
With experience, I have gradually learned that presence of energy yields the best return in blessings of a gathering, and without rest and recovery between visits, I will not truly enjoy myself and my people. As much as I long to catch up with such a long list of loved ones, I’ve realised that I would need months to do so, and so a little over 5 weeks won't suffice. So this season I’ll see less friends, for shorter periods of time, on a schedule that works for me, but my energy, love and joy will runneth over.
Rejoice Every Day; Joy, Dance Parties, Freedom
My longtime girlfriends Kayon, Stepane and I went on a quick getaway to Jamaica to kick off my summer holidays. We rode into Negril and witnessed what we unanimously dubbed, “a never before seen sunset on the rock” (Jamaicans refer to the beloved island as Jamrock). And believe me, this sunset was cause for a celebration: which lasted for 36 hours. Buoyed by long years of friendship, a verve for the soft life, common cultural ground - dancehall, classic R&B and Caribbean upbringings - we danced, sang, enjoyed all of our favourite traditional dishes and rejoiced until we boarded our return flight to NYC. I will be bringing this energy into my month-long holiday. Whether it’s writing notes to you like this one, listening to and feeling the vibrations of raindrops on a rainy day, relaxing in late summer breezes, or feeling intensely reinvigorated by the expansive Atlantic waves, I will be expressing my gratitude for being here, in this moment. Thank you!
Restoration: Rest, Activity, Self-indulgence
I have never been a big sleeper, and I am the type of person who craves hours of downtime before drifting asleep, both conditions inherited from my mother and aunt, who are bonafide insomniacs.
With frenetic work like mine, being able to operate on very little sleep can be a double-edged sword. While I theoretically may be productive over longer periods of time, a continuous lack of sleep is detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. Obesity, depression, reduced immune system function and lower sex drive are all attributed to clocking insuffient hours of rest. So while I would adore spending the next month nocturnally bingeing on my favourite K-dramas, I am committing to accruing unlimited hours of REM sleep. Earlier this summer, when I returned to Milan from my last work trip, as expected I was feeling worse for wear. As I eased back into my home routine and my circadian rhythm reset, I noticed how my body fell into sync. I felt sweetly restored; mind, gut and muscles. The shift offered an incredible reminder for me and encouraged my commitment to sleep sounder during this vacation.
How are you staying fit today?
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will recognize that call to action as my personal mantra for maintaining and prolonging wellness. I will really use this valuable time to return to the level of fitness I had achieved before my work schedule exploded into what it is today.
This may sound challenging to achieve in just four weeks, but I am not stressed. This vacation is about doing all the things that I would like to do during the course of the year, and having fun while doing them. Returning to a 7-mile run is one of those activities. There is no luxury as valuable as my emotional and physical wellness.
And what would a holiday be without self indulgence? First on my list of priorities: I will allow the time to melt away all the challenges of the past 7 months. Even when the holiday starts, our inner children are still working to soothe us back from the stresses leading up to a moment of rest. Look within and reconnect for the healing.
I plan to lose my bra, avoid makeup for days on end, spend hours in the sun replenishing my melanin, dote on my son because doing so gives me all those maternal butterflies, aggressively splurge on impulse items, make very few plans and just relish in my blessings.
Happy August Pretty Birds!
Love and always love,