We all have a list in our heads of the things we do, or want to do, that help us relax, reset, and rejuvenate. Some of these things we do on the reg, and some feel like guilty pleasures only appropriate + doable on vacations.

One year when my family and I took a beach trip, we made friends with a French couple. We were there for one week, and they were there for three. Oh la la. They felt so much frustration and concern on our behalf.

“You Americans (stay with me) wonder why you’re so stressed. You don’t let your vacations fulfill their purpose. You treat enjoyment and time away as a luxury rather than a vital part of health and happiness. Do you know why we take three week vacations? Because the first week, you are tired and still thinking about work. You rest, but you only enjoy yourself a little bit. The second week, you are more present and relaxed. You are actually ready to feel good. The third week is absolute bliss. You become your favorite self.”

As my spirit animal, Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” So many of us struggle with this– spreading ourselves too thin, and not fully committing to what we choose to do. We wear stress and multitasking as badges of honor, even if they undercut efficiency.

There’s a big difference between coping + taking the edge off, and refilling your tank. So what if we applied the rule of French vacation phases to our self-care? What if we knew what circumstances + choices represented each tier of our revitalization?

Sometimes we only have the time or money to put just enough gas in our tank to get from Point A to Point B. We know we’re running on empty and will need extra juice stat. Sometimes we can afford to fill up all the way, but we straight up don’t (out of habit or fear). And when we do fill up all the way, there’s freedom.

I know my Just Get from Point A to Point B Tier looks like binging on sleep + Netflix. I need cozy and quiet. No humans allowed, but dogs are welcome. I know my Half Full looks like sleep, Netflix AND creativity, yoga, and spending time with my favorite people. And my Bliss State? All that PLUS dancing, tequila, reading at my favorite cafe, and candle-lit baths. #YAAAASSS

I’m breathing easier and smiling bigger just thinking about this list. More of that please.

Now go have fun building your bliss benchmarks.

Until next time,
Terra