You know how, if you’re on a plane when the oxygen mask drops from the overhead compartment and you’re traveling with kids, you’re supposed to put your mask on first and then help them?

Life is like that, too. You’re no good to anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself.

Two months ago, I was on vacation in New Zealand, but it was a whirlwind trip, filled with activities and people. It was fun but not much of a break.

Then, this month, my friend Rhonda invited me to her family’s rental house on Mission Beach in San Diego for a few days. It’s one of my favorite places.

I asked my boss for the time off and broke the news to my son Sawyer that I was going to the beach (and he wasn’t), and he’d need to watch the dog and water the plants.

I spent three days drinking too many pomegranate margaritas (is there really such a thing as too many pomegranate margaritas?), sitting on the beach and not thinking about work or my to-do list.

The ocean is good for me. The rhythm of the waves slows my breathing and calms my brain.

I realized this is what people mean when they talk about “self-care,” not pedicures and yoga class, though those qualify, too, but giving yourself a break when you need it.

At home, I was determined to keep that feeling.

I’m taking time every day to go out to the pool in the backyard. The thump-thump-thump of the pump creates a rhythm kind of like the ocean. The aerator sloshes the water gently.

I leave my phone inside and take a book, and I sit with my feet in the water, no matter how busy I am, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. I feel my breathing slow, my brain calm.

In those moments, I’m back at the beach. 

For even more Karina Bland, subscribe to her newsletter. Reach Bland at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @KarinaBland.

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