July, the month I came alive.
No other month this year made me feel as happy and free as July did. I could argue that I haven’t felt that good in years, actually.
The sun, the warmth, the flowers in bloom; everything about this month felt joyful.
After deciding to use all my vacation days to take the entire month off, I had a few things planned out. My boyfriend’s friend was getting married in the Okanagan early July so we ventured that way, taking our time to camp and explore along the way. I had committed to filming a second wedding a few weeks after the first one, so we would have to travel back home for that. As luck would have it, my boyfriend’s new job started around this time too, so we had three weeks together, which made for excellent bonding and some beautiful photos (check out his Instagram here!).
Having family in the Okanagan made for an inexpensive trip. It was nice to visit with them too, of course. I know a few people in the area but decided not to call on them this trip. No. This trip was about me. I felt it was important to show my boyfriend my half-time ‘hood. I say that because the (north) Okanagan feels like home to me (my parents split when I was around 10, my mom moved to B.C. and my siblings and I visited 1-2x a year). There were places I wanted to show him that wasn’t touristy or on “top things to do in the area” lists, but they were special to me.
One of the top memories I have of the first part of July is an “art tour” at my brother’s place in Kelowna. He has been learning and developing skills at watercolour painting and wanted to show us his progress. He unveiled his first few paintings and was not embarrassed by his work. Rather, he pointed out the confidence behind the brushstrokes as we gradually made our way to his “better” pieces.
A lot of people will simply show their work only if they feel others will approve it. I much preferred this method. Show me the beginnings, show me the journey, show me your challenges, because it makes the end product that much more beautiful. I would remember this art tour as I arrived home and began to look inward at what skills I’d like to develop.
Here are the ways I helped build positive mental health for myself this month:
After having a mental health crisis last year, I recalled direction from my doctor. He said that no one really rests with 1-2 weeks off work. At least 4 weeks is needed to let the body and mind actually feel rested. With this in mind, I felt good this past spring knowing I would have a chunk of time to unwind. And I was right.
It felt incredible to put my “out of office” email on and step away from my desk and work responsibilities. I have found that I work reasonably well with schedules in life, but there is something to be said about having a light (or zero) schedule. But I had a hard time relaxing when my vacation first started.
In an effort to get things off my mind, I wrote a giant “to do” list of things I want to accomplish before September or the end of the year. I told myself not to get anxious and that I am capable of accomplishing it all if I take action and putter away with it later in the month. This made me feel relaxed knowing I would put everything down and gradually pick it all up in time.
And relax I did. My mind is so thankful for the time it had to rest, reflect, refresh and rejuvenate.
The first part of my month included hiking and camping. At first, my body was like “Whoa! You want me to be active? Where’s the desk we usually sit at?” As I began to use my muscles more on a daily basis, I could feel myself tighten up slightly and my body thanked me. I began to feel a little stronger and confident, more like my old self.
One thing I found fascinating was the results of a food intolerance test: I need to be dairy-free (my body cannot process any dairy), lessen my sugar intake (I am highly sensitive to sugar, even natural sugar), and replace a vital cell salt that I am apparently deficient on. This information has become extremely helpful as I begin to plan a life with no dairy whatsoever (not even whey protein powder) or sugar. The salt deficiency left me dumbfounded so I have been researching the topic to better educate myself.
I always feel good having better insight into how my body functions. People often complain about the price of a naturopath, but I have had good success and feel the price is reasonable given the invaluable information received. Now to start making dietary changes!
From hiking and exploring to sitting quietly by a campfire, July was good for my soul. It’s hard to pinpoint one single thing that made me feel this way. I do know that I truly needed these activities and the time off of work.
Overall though, I believe I came more into myself this month. I felt more connected to who I am at my core than I have in quite some time. It was like the various activities I participated in reminded me of the things I want more of in life. I was reminded of what sets my soul on fire, what makes me come alive.
Now to figure out how to have more of those things.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have an incredible rest of your summer.
My boyfriend and I were camping along Abraham Lake on the Canada Day long weekend. While having a bonfire, the most incredible display of fireworks popped up into the night sky to the right of us. It was beautiful. As the show started to wind down another set of fireworks appeared to the left of us. How neat! Then suddenly the entire sky lit up as two sets of fireworks went off at once. Talk about magical!
I don’t know who was responsible for either of these magnificent light displays, but THANK YOU. It is not a night I will soon forget.
Songs on Repeat
- Wicked Game – Chris Isaac (ft. Seren) Chillion Remix
- Hideaway – Kiesza (I think I’ve shared this before. I love the song and the video. Honestly, so entertaining.)