If anyone in my life could be considered an expert on Wanderlust, it is my dear friend Haley, who has been traveling since a very early age. Haley and I have been friends for more than 20 years, and I have been lucky enough to witness the growth and reward her travels have inspired over the decades. From trips to Mexico in elementary school, multiple European excursions throughout junior and senior high, a semester in Spain during college and a visit to Tanzania (she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro!) after graduating, Haley has covered much of the globe. However, for the past 6 months, she has turned her focus to national travel.
In November of last year, Haley and her boyfriend Reilly left Minneapolis to spend 6 months travelling the Western and Southern United States. Theirs was a WOOFF-ing adventure, (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) so they earned room and board at each place they visited by doing labor on organic farms. They were at each farm for 1-2 weeks before travelling on to their next destination. As you can imagine, being on the move so often, and for so long, required Haley to make changes to her self care routine.
I have always admired Haley's dedication to self care, and have learned a lot from her throughout our lives. She brings an enriching creativity to her self care rituals and routines, and I am always striving to be more like her in that way. Through communicating with Haley during her time away, I realized that her valuable insight into the specific nature of mobile self care felt very important to share. This month's theme so far has focused on how to best care for ourselves when we are experiencing wanderlust but, for whatever reason, we are unable to travel. Haley provides a unique perspective about the lasting importance of self care even when when we are able to hit the road . Below is an interview with Haley, which took place about 3 months ago (halfway into her journey). After reading her interview, please also take a look at her blog (linked here) to learn more about her experience.
Hi Haley! Please describe your self care routine.
When I am settled in one place, my self care routine changes daily but consists of a few stand-bys I select depending on the time available and my mood. These could include; running around the trails of Minneapolis, rock climbing with friends, a low-key yoga class, listening to music while doing chores around the house, and writing in my gratitude journal.
My most popular self care practice is going for a short 15 minute walk, which almost without fail clears my mind of anxiety. Every day I try to feed my body “healthy-ish” foods, meaning I make sure that I get a wide variety of nutritious foods and cook from home when I can, but also treat myself to ice cream whenever I want!
You’re on the move constantly. What aspects of self care change depending on where you are, and what aspects always stay the same?
Since I’ve been on the road, my self care practices have transformed to things not dependent on my location, and are much smaller gestures. They could be as simple as drinking a cup of tea, writing a letter to a friend, practicing my banjo, lighting a scented candle, or taking a warm shower. However, getting exercise always helps me feel like I am taking care of myself, along with eating a big healthy meal- so those aspects stay with me!
Have you ever had to retire old self care habits? Maybe activities that used to feel helpful but that you gradually outgrew?
My biggest self care habit that I had to retire was long distance running. For most of my life, it was my only mode of self care and provided a great sense of stress relief. Unfortunately, it came to a point where repetitive injuries were hurting me more than helping me, and I chose to scale down my mileage and frequency and adopt other satisfying methods of exercise. In ‘the long run’ it has been a beneficial transition.
I’m curious about what kinds of things help you remember to use self care. How do you successfully stay in the mindset that allows you to cherish yourself and regard your needs as important.
Each morning I try to take three deep breaths and “set my intentions”. This means being very deliberate about how I would like to move through my day, for example; visualizing obstacles that I may encounter and then visualizing myself being patient and positive in response, or remembering to value my loved ones. In the moment that I first wake up, I have tried to create a space for me to choose the path my day will take.
As a reminder of personal self care during the day, I try to regularly “check-in” with my body. For example, maybe I am feeling crabby, and so I check in with my body and find that I had forgotten to eat. Now I know that I need to eat a snack, and then I will feel better. Our minds are very closely connected with our bodies, and if your body is happy it is easier for your mind to follow! A lot of my self-care techniques are centered around my physical being for that reason.
Do you ever struggle with self care?
Yes. Some days I forget all of my self care techniques and feel very lost. Usually I am busy and forget to check-in with myself, or can’t decipher what my body is trying to tell me. On those days I am grumpy and it’s not very fun to be around me.
On bad days, what do you do to turn your mood around and help yourself feel better?
Usually a small amount of exercise helps me clear my head, but if I am having a really bad day, it carries a lot of momentum and I feel powerless to change its course. At those times, I try to recall good moments that happened in the past or make a list of things I am looking forward to in the future. If that doesn’t work either and my mood stays low, I tell myself that it will be better tomorrow. It sounds like giving up, but everything looks better by the fresh green light of day!