As I settled into my second month of Shelter in Place, I could feel my spirit waning and decided to plan my first ever Stay-cation. After five weeks alone, I had relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, sheltering in my childhood home with my sister, her husband, and my grown nephew. I looked at my calendar and blocked out the first week I had no client meetings planned, three weeks out. As I got close to the time, I listened to my financial worries and gave them space to breathe and guide my actions leading up to that week. A client board meeting popped up on a Thursday and I decided to shorten my Stay-cation to five days-Saturday to Wednesday.
I kept my strength training, yoga sessions, family online play date, restorative movement class, and Zoom meditation sessions on my calendar, as they are essential to my well-being. Other than that, I was going to explore what showed up. As the week began I pondered what to do with the unscheduled time, and I watched full tennis matches featuring the GOAT Serena Williams, then moving to include other favorites like Venus, Monica Puig, and Hsieh Su-wei. Having not played or watched live tennis for two months, this was an enjoyable activity, especially since I picked matches my favorites won!
I kept to my healthy eating with occasional goodies routine. I continued going outside and reading, walking, playing corn hole, biking, and planting the yerba buena I had rooted in a glass of water. The sun was brilliant and warmed my body and spirit.
As the days unfolded, I noticed moments of dis-ease and shifted some of my decision-making around alone and together time to protect my spirit. I had told my amiga and accountability partner that I was going to put a shield on the back of my bedroom/office door to remind me that I was responsible for my well-being. As a mujer with a big corazón and natural tendency towards generosity, I wanted a reminder before entering the space I shared with four other beings – three humans and a cat.
I put a stickie on my door to remind myself of my commitment. After a few days I saw the stickie did the trick. When I showed it two weeks later to my amiga, she laughed, saying she had imagined me making a beautiful mandala! I told her that was a great idea, but given everything else on my list, it had shifted to being a low priority as the stickie worked beautifully.
As the “work” week began, I gave myself permission to check emails for 10 minutes a day and keep a low flame on some active projects for 15 minutes a day, including completing my PPP (Paycheck Protection Plan) application. This helped me stay grounded in the reality of the Global Pandemic without detracting with the primary focus on my well-being practices. I also did a 1-day gentle nutritional cleanse, a regular habit that I had not found the emotional energy to complete since Shelter in Place began.
On the last day of my Stay-cation I found a time and place where I could enjoy the beach with my mask on while easily practicing #spatialsolidarity. I walked and sat with the breeze, waves, sun and sand and my soul rested in the magnificence of la naturaleza.
In my forth-coming book Breaking Through Your Own Glass Ceiling, I talk about the impossible expectations we put on vacations. I encourage folks to make a list of what ‘being’ and ‘doing’ practices they save for these few weeks and to begin to integrate them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. When we do this, then our lives are ones where we want to stay in the present moment rather than yearn to “vacate” our lives for some mythical vacation.
While this was my first Stay-cation, I had, for many years, integrated well-being practices into my “regular” life. The five days gave me extended time to practice and make some tweaks to my on-going schedule. I decided as the CEO of my Sole Proprietorship to shift to a 4-day work week as the longer span of re-calibration makes a big difference. For me, the true purpose of a Stay-cation is to stay with my body, mind, and spirit and listen more attentively to my inner wisdom so I can stay well on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
I encourage you to schedule your own Stay-cation for whatever time possible and heed what unfolds in your heart. I have continued to watch tennis matches and shield my spirit before stepping out of my private space to engage with all beings from a place of #fullhearted love and compassion.