When regular routines are not feasible because of life’s various demands, a solid plan for restoration is the best way to regain balance in your life. This month on All the Pretty Birds, we are taking advantage of the restorative benefits of the autumn/winter season as a means of preparing ourselves for the new year and decade.
At the end of August, after a few weeks of holiday, I set out for a grueling three weeks of traveling comprised of three round trips between Europe and New York.
Why would I schedule such a demanding travel schedule you ask? Well, it involved three game-changing projects that I would have been crazy to turn down.
In order to prepare myself mentally, as I rationalized the physical requirements of multiple international flights in 23 days, I remember thinking of how disciplined I would have to be to sustain the fatigue, jetlag, and interruption of my nutrition habits and general routine.
Over the past 11 years since I started All the Pretty Birds, I have had the opportunity to identify and tweak different approaches to dealing with work-related stress, deadlines, and travel. It’s a journey and I am always discovering new ways of coping (some ideas work for me, and others, while valid, do not fit my style). As I set out on my three-trip tour de force, I tapped into my armory of travel and work “weapons” of survival. I checked in mentally by meditating and accessed some tools that I learned from my healer. I packed all my supplements: vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin D, digestive enzymes, melatonin and magnesium (provides an excellent boost of energy and helps me avoid pressure/sinus-related headaches on flights). I organized my gym clothes so that I could continue to be active while traveling. I planned some convenient meals and snacks that I could travel with in order to maintain my nutrition plan. And, I made a note to myself to drink tons of water during flights. And I actually believed that, other than the expected jet lag and related fatigue, I would come out top shape when I landed on the other side of the “pond.”
Boy was I wrong. After completing these flights (see below) I was absolutely destroyed.
New York – London/Milan: August 21
Milan – New York: August 26
Milan – NY: September 5
NY- Milan: September 7
Milan – NY: September 9
NY – Milan: September 12
I was so knackered that on September 14, as I lay plastered to my sofa like a limp ramen noodle, I noticed that two lymph nodes behind my right ear were swollen. WTAF? Fortunately, I had scheduled all my annual medical appointments for the following Monday and everything checked out ok, with the swollen glands disappearing after two weeks without medication. Even though the cause of the swelling didn’t turn out to be serious, we assumed it was related to my intense travel schedule, I was still very concerned, because I prepared so well and thought that my body would be able to endure the rigors of my travel schedule. Instead of sinking into a dimly lit space, I had an aha moment. While I was so caught up in my own preventive medicine in relation to my travels in September, I underestimated the necessity of restoration. My goal was to do whatever I could do to avoid burning myself out or getting sick, but I failed to acknowledge that I might need to implement my/a recovery plan.
Three of the most important lessons I’ve experienced since starting All the Pretty Birds are: (1) knowing when to take a break; (2) acknowledging that a pause is not only beneficial for my health and wellbeing, but also for my productivity; and (3), how to rest, restore and replenish in a space free of guilt or preoccupation. Although I was well and my body was repairing itself in response to what I demanded of it, I acknowledged that it was time to take a break and restore. With fashion week wrapping up in a couple of weeks, I looked forward to a quiet that would ensue as the seasons transitioned to Autumn and then Winter. I thought of nature going into hibernation mode in preparation for the Spring. And my body and soul warmed to the idea.
When it came time to pick our theme for December, it only felt natural to share what I had just experienced along with a selection of stories of how Team ATPB rests, restores, and replenishes. This month Shammara Lawrence talks R&R via a piece on staycation culture. Chinea Rodriguez shares ways to nurture our hair this winter. In a second piece, she provides self-care practices that won’t break the bank. Chloe’ Flowers helps you channel your best self in a piece focused on restoring your wardrobes. Roki Prunali dips into restorative soups that will warm your bones when the temperatures fall and your fingers as well as toes lose all their feelings. And finally, the team will share our dream wellness and yoga retreats as well as the special things we keep in our kitchen that gives us an extra pep in our steps when the sun sets at 4:42 pm.
So my beautiful birds, repeat after me: restoration is good for the body and the soul. We deserve breaks and periods of rest to restore our being. We shall not feel guilty or preoccupied, we are our best selves because of it.
Image by Myesha Evon