Pip Stewart on Travel and Self-love

Pip Stewart Bali

Suffering from fatigue, burnout, and struggling to make time for yourself? This might help…

How often in life do you make time for yourself? I’m betting not enough! In our increasingly fast-paced, busy lives, I think there’s never been a more urgent time to slow down and reconnect with yourself. I’ve learnt this to my cost recently. Last year I returned from an expedition in the Amazon with both glandular fever and a flesh-eating parasite. For months I’ve left exhausted and utterly wiped out. Foolishly, the “rest” I was prescribed probably didn’t include taking a long-haul flight to Bali for a “self-love and yoga retreat”. Like many of you might feel in daily life, I figured: “I’d just push through it.” While the trip may have been misguided from a health standpoint the learnings I picked up were massively useful. So, for anyone suffering from fatigue, burn out or just struggling to connect with yourself, hopefully, this might help…

1. Make time to do something for you

The people I met on the retreat had all made a big step – to do something for themselves and on their own. What was fascinating was that so many people felt like they “didn’t deserve” to be there, or that they weren’t worthy of investing time into. So often we think about other people’s wants and needs but how often do you think about your own? Whatever your level of self-confidence, whatever mistakes you’ve made in the past, remind yourself that you are worthy. Spending time getting to know yourself (and to start to like yourself) is not selfish. It will, hopefully, improve your relationship not just with yourself but with the people around you. If you’re pressed for time, even carve out 10 minutes to sit with a hot drink and check in with how you’re feeling today. As Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

The people I met on the retreat had all made a big step – to do something for themselves and on their own. What was fascinating was that so many people felt like they “didn’t deserve” to be there, or that they weren’t worthy of investing time into. So often we think about other people’s wants and needs but how often do you think about your own? Whatever your level of self-confidence, whatever mistakes you’ve made in the past, remind yourself that you are worthy. Spending time getting to know yourself (and to start to like yourself) is not selfish. It will, hopefully, improve your relationship not just with yourself but with the people around you. If you’re pressed for time, even carve out 10 minutes to sit with a hot drink and check in with how you’re feeling today. As Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Fancy a solo adventure? Click here for more solo travel tips.

2. Release yourself from the stories you tell yourself

Watch how often you start to define yourself by stories you tell yourself. It’s remarkable when you tune into it. Whether it’s something like “I’m a bad singer”, or “I can’t make any relationship work” – you begin to notice that our thoughts impact our actions. Maybe you were thrown out of the school choir or past relationships didn’t work out but really start to interrogate the stories you tell yourself.

If you really want to improve certain areas of your life what steps can you take to move forward, or are you using your story as an excuse not to? Everyone messes up, makes mistakes and has certain attributes about ourselves that we don’t like. Recognise when you’re holding onto these thought patterns. Today is a new day, which stories about who or what you’d like to become serve you – and which don’t? Perhaps try writing down all the negative stories you wish to remove and then burn them – and start a new page with who you’d like to become. Therapy can help too.

3. Be grateful

The Balinese Hindu culture of putting out offerings to the Gods each day really resonated with me. I spoke to my taxi driver, Bagus, about gratitude and love and he offered me the following words:

“Love? Love is big. It is not just between people; it’s about the entire universe. If you think about it, we are just a speck of dust on this planet. Love is grand.”

While our relative insignificance can leave us feeling, to use his term, like “a speck”, there’s also great freedom in that. If we can see our problems and worries in the context of something so much larger and interconnected they suddenly seem smaller. Keep a mental note (or better yet write down) all the things you’re grateful for each day – be that a cuppa in the morning, or your next breath. It won’t take away your problems but it might help shift your focus onto something more positive.

waterfall

We all struggle, we’ve all made mistakes but be kind to yourself. You’re human. You’re alive. You’re growing.

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