People often ask me “how can I do self-care?” I find the concept of self-care is talked about a lot but, do people really understand how to apply it? Oxford Dictionary defines Self-Care as: the practice of improving one’s own health. The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. So, what makes something self-care? I believe self-care requires you to be intentional about your purpose, mindful towards whatever you are engaging in, and open to new experiences along the way.

To fully immerse yourself in what you are doing, it must be something that you are truly interested in. Think about those things (hobbies, locations, interests) that immediately light up a space inside of your heart. Take a moment to figure out what that is for you. Now, ask yourself if you are willing to set aside the time to be totally invested in it. Only then, will you discover the true essence of self-care.

I’ve learned that my self-care style is recharging in beautiful spaces in nature. Places where I can find comfort in the simplicity of life. Nothing else matters in these moments. This is my self-care. Recently I was in desperate need of a break, so I traveled to Hammondsport, a village in the Finger Lakes of New York. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just knew that I needed peace. My hotel was beautiful. I sat at the outdoor fire pit and relaxed with a book. I leaned back in the chair and propped up my legs. The warm sensation of heat on my feet always makes me feel relaxed. It just felt good to be in a space where I could fully take care of myself.

The next day, I had a watercolor painting workshop scheduled at Point of the Bluff Vineyards. As I drove through the small town up the winding hills to the vineyard, I couldn’t stop looking at the beautiful land. I raised my hands outside the sunroof and thanked God for my life. This is life! I thought, and I’m living it.

When I arrived at the vineyard, I was overwhelmed with joy just looking at the open green space. It felt as though the sun was shining perfectly for me. I was greeted by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo, the amazing artist teaching the class. I took my seat in front of my canvas, paint palette and glass of wine. The artist instructed us was to paint the scenery. She demonstrated how to paint the sky and clouds. “Make sure your canvas is fully wet. Start with the darker colors on top and then use lighter colors as you work your way down.” I’m nervously looking at my blank canvas second guessing this new venture! Then I said to myself, just relax and lean in, you’re here for the experience. And so, I did. Once I dipped my brush into the paint and saw that deep blue color touch the canvas, I took what felt like a long overdue exhale. I looked up at the sky, then back down at my canvas and continued to paint. I knew in that moment; I was in the right place. Nothing else mattered, just me being present in this space enjoying something new.

Not only did I find peace during this weekend getaway – I made new friends, enjoyed delicious farm to table meals and indulged in the best wine around. Ah, self-care!

What’s something you can do for self-care?