The Importance of Self Care - Ixtapa Mexico

Oh friends, I'm glad you're here. I cannot tell you how important self care is. Whatever that looks like for you, whether it's alone-time with a great book or some well deserved time away, it is so important to make that time for yourself. I remember it was September and James looked at me and told me, "you are in the thick of wedding season and you need to have a vacation to look forward to." And he was totally right. And thankfully enough we are in a position to have an option like "going on a vacation" as our reality. I was in the mix of wedding season, LOVING IT, but there was definitely moments where I didn't have the time to put myself first.

I did my best to make sure I made time in the morning for the gym, giving myself good meals, and always lifting my feet up at the end of the day. But to be honest, I wasn't doing my best at making time for myself.

June was James' Birthday. Not just "another birthday" it was his big 3 - 0. Yup, and we had grand plans to go away to the cottage with all the people we love. And I'm so sad to admit that this was my most stressful moment of 2019. Once a month I suffer from Menstrual Migraines **a conversation for another day**. I remember that trip started when I just finished a 3 day migraine and at that time I didn't have a handle on it. I had the pain killers but I wasn't taking them in an effective way. Let's just say I was a bit of a mess.

There's no place I love more than at the cottage with friends and for the first time I couldn't enjoy it. I was so stressed, overwhelmed, and didn't know how to manage it running at full speed ahead during wedding season. I even lugged around my MAC DESKTOP (not, no laptop here!) while we travelled that week. I can't thank my friends enough for putting up with my heavy luggage (literally we had a car filled up and my desktop seatbelted in the seat....oh lord!) and all my stressful vibes.

From that moment on I knew I had to do things differently. I was so torn between being the best photographer at my dream job and balancing my personal life. It's SO darn rea, adulting is hard.

I'm happy to say that September marked my triumphant time of last year. I went through the summer conquering each wedding, feeling confident about everything I did, adopting a little Moira, and finding a better balance to my life. Work was great, my Migraines were under control, and I was feeling like I "finally got this!" The last thing was that time for myself that I put on the back burner. And as I sit her listing out all these great things I accomplished (which I'm happy to celebrate) it all came with a price. My mental health was fine, but let's be real, it wasn't great. And that all came down to self care.

I am so darn blessed to have a partner in life that makes me face the reality and stop, think, and come up with solutions that will make life a little easier. You know? That's how this trip away to Mexico came to be. And don't get me wrong, we are not these "baller people" that can go ahead and just book a vacation. We waited for the best deal to come around trust me! And for us that was Ixtapa Mexico with Sunwing Travel.

The biggest highlight was probably ACTUALLY relaxing on a beach for 7 days. I can't believe how freeing it was to not to worry about a single thing. Meals, beach, a great room, and my partner by my side were all there for me. I know a lot of people plan a lot of fun activities and Instagrammable locations to visit for photos, but that wasn't the purpose for this trip. Not for me. I have a small handful of photos and not a lot of evidence on Instagram showing my glamorous 7 days away. Instead I spent time on myself by being in the moment. But let me just point out that it literally took my leaving the country to do this for myself. I haven't mastered the stress of balancing life and career (for I'm learning that there is no perfect balance) and I'm always learning. So please take my story with a grain-of-salt and if you can take something away from it I am SO glad it helped. With that...

We did manage to have one photo opportunity worth talking about. I always try and find a way to give back and thankfully there was an opportunity to give back to the local community. Specifically a family that is doing good for the wildlife. The turtles! There is a local family that lives on a beach about an hours drive away from all the resorts. The father goes out every morning between 1am - 6am to collect turtle eggs nested on the beach. I know what you're thinking, DON'T MESS WITH NATURE. Believe me, that's what I thought too. Like what the heck humans, that's not your place. But he does this to protect the eggs' survival from predators and other humans. He takes them to his sanctuary on his beach and protects their nest until for 40 days until the turtles are ready to be released into the ocean. And to answer your lingering question, mother turtles lay their eggs and leave the nest, never to return.

The only purpose we had there was to lift the turtles (with a glove and not invading their natural condition) from their nest into a bucket for them to "wake up". Once they're in the bucket we are to never touch them again. Even then we weren't meant to do anything, just assist their climb from outside their nest/hole. That was something I really loved because me, as a human, was not invading in their natural process just assisting the process. Does make sense?

Once we waited about 20 mins they were trying to climb out of the bucket into the water. We all walked to the water, tipped our buckets over, and let them crawl into their new life. It was so beautiful to see 80 turtles safety make way into the Pacific Ocean. So dang magical, and such a privilege to be a part of their journey.

What an amazing trip to start the new year on a fresh start. I am so thankfully for this time away and happy to share my experience behind these beautiful photos. I want to keep it real and talk about the things that truly matter to me. When I look back at this vacation I see the self care and me-time that was well deserved. Keep killin' it out there guys and celebrate your little wins!

#professionalphotographer #danicaolivaphotography #travellingphotographer #travelphotography #travelmexico

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