How To Bounce Back From A Self-Care Extravaganza

I had the pleasure of traveling across the country to New York City for the weekend with my good friend, Jesse, for a girls’ trip.  We ate great food, marveled at the beauty of human creations in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and walked all over the Upper West Side until our feet felt like they’d been stomped by elephants. It was glorious. It was the kind of caring I could only ever dream of, but got to experience thanks to my phenomenal friend.

The Met, Egyptian Art
Amelia, Yours truly, Jesse
A happy tourist (Me)

The trip also got me thinking about what comes after something so great. What do we do with ourselves after the dust settles and we must return to our regular lives? You might not be flying for hours, spending money wildly, and luxuriating in a hotel like an heiress, but what if you take all the time you need to replenish your defenses only to come home feeling even more spent?

Taking care of ourselves can be just as exhausting as running our bodies ragged in the normal days of our lives. So, I would like some of my tips for bouncing back in your return to normality. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my access to travel, self-care, therapy, and wellness options, and I have found that even with the best of times I still need a little help finding my equilibrium. Below, I’m listing my tried and true habits for not only maintaining the good vibes of self-care, but also maintaining healthy expectations for who I’ll be afterwards.

Sleep!

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Disney

Sounds obvious, but is it something we let ourselves do after vacation? Or after a yoga session, or a hike, or a round of face masks and Judge Judy? Nah, didn’t think so! Think of it this way: you’ve just pumped your body full of that good stuff, like endorphins, adrenaline, and other sciencey things. Thus, your body is going to need to power down. I hate to sound like Morpheus in The Matrix, but at the end of the day we’re all walking and talking batteries. We need to recharge even if we’ve just been doing another form of powering up. Catch some zzz’s!

Ease back into your routine

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I know most of us use the weekend for our self-care extravaganzas – it’s just the way our work lives function. We feel guilty missing work, so we hold out until Friday evening to get down to business. That leaves us with going back in on Monday to face the monotony. This goes counter to everything we’re taught, but I would challenge you to not take on big projects right away, or act like the superhero you are first thing Monday morning. You’ll be feeling unstoppable, no doubt, but you’re going to be regret biting off more than you can chew. This isn’t about avoiding work all-together, but rather not falling prey to the urge to do it all. Take your time.

Don’t throw all the internal work out the window

relaxed yoga GIF by Hannah Bronfman
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This is really the tough one for me. I was super zen in New York, but that’s easy to do when you’re far away from responsibilities, stressors, and a regular routine. I was able to unwind and be introspective without being bogged down with the minutiae of life. When I go back I was understandably tired and sore from walking, then flying for 6 hours, but I was instantly unhappy when I set foot through my front door. So, what gives?

Well, I think I was looking for reasons to be stressed out.  If I were to go deeper, I would discover I was hunting for reasons to rob myself of the goodness that felt unearned. Self-sabotage is real, especially after something bigger than what you normally allow yourself to have.  So remember this, first and foremost: You have earned the good things that you get. We deserve the cakes, face masks, rest, hikes, movies, hours of conversation with loved ones, vacations, therapy sessions and joys of this life, no matter what.

Whether you be traveling far, or taking a weekend for yourself at home, I hope you enjoy it to the fullest without worrying about what comes next. We’ve got memories to make, after all.

Celebrate Make It Rain GIF by Captain Cuts

The Cut Caught Up With Tiffany Pollard AKA “New York” And I Am So Here For It

By Jesse Kadjo

New York GIF

This week I read the ultimate throwback piece by Allison Davis for The Cut. She wrote about an exhibit in Manhattan, dedicated to none other than Tiffany Pollard, aka New York, from such early aught greats as Flavor of Love, and of course two seasons of I Love New York. Pollard has gone on to star in a barrage of other reality shows, but none as iconic as her first season on Flavor of Love. Like many millennials my age (30), I spent my first years of independence consuming the absolute ridiculousness of VH1. Right when people were fully in I wish MTV still played videosmode, VH1 decided that it would launch us into a new era. Throwback shows declaring how much we loved the 80s and 90s, and reality shows about searching for love.

Flavor of Love was unique because it was the anti-Bachelor. With a similar premise, on its face, it seemed the same, but was far from it. The characters were so much better and knew that they were just that characters. There was no pretending that you actually gave a shit about this person. They were there for fame and money. Contestants often touted that they were on other reality shows, only to renege on those statements when questioned about their love for Flav”.

A Star Is Born

New York (as she will forever be in my heart), was the real star, because, despite her pursuit for that coin, you felt as though she really did have love for Flav. New York tells Davis, “ ‘Everything I did was real, everything I do is real’ […] ‘And if you wanna know, yes, I did fuck Flav.’” I mean…come on! You can’t make that up. Well you could…but that’s what makes her Reality Gold. She was raw, cutting, hilarious and even kind. She had a singular focus which was winning (his heart) and getting a prized Flav clock. The fact that a clock on a chain was given out in lieu of a rose just made the whole thing even better.

It all feels manufactured now, which is ironic because it obviously was back then. At the time New York auditioned for the show, she didnt even know who she would be dating. But there was an authenticity to it, because it still felt new. These days youd be hard pressed to find something quite like this. Turn on the last season of Keeping up with the Kardashians and you will know what I mean. Each episode has about three story lines, all of them boring, and follow the overarching meta plot about their job of filming their reality show. When your reality show has a cast of 8 and yet has devolved into eating salads and sitting in your kitchen, you know youve jumped the shark.

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Energizer Bunny

These days, New York continues to breathe a second, third and 16th life into her 15 minutes of fame. She jokes that she must be related to the Energizer bunny, with a rechargeable 15 minutes of fame,Davis writes. Like many stars of the early 2000s, she has found new life on the internet through the magic and genius of GIFs. One of my all-time favorite GIFs is also her favorite of herself. Pulled from Season 1, she is sitting on a bed in in a white tank top, jeans and stiletto boots. Her sunglasses and chilled stare are the perfect visualization for me when I am done with EVERYONE.In some way, everything old feels new. I get to relieve one of the best periods of my life (college) in an ever evolving and hilarious way.

Nostalgia Is The Best

Those college days, especially the first two years, were so carefree and involved so much buffoonery. My roommate and I went to class, were back in our shoebox by 2pm and spent the afternoon watching the Nanny and Golden Girls. By sophomore year, we graduated to VH1 and binging on Haagen Das. It was the perfect use of our time. Now we call it Netflix and Chill and barely have time to do it. No matter the decade, its clear that we need lightness. Back then, New York was an antidote to the pressures of senior year and impending graduation. Now she’s an antidote to the pressures of being a real life adult with adult problems.

We need things that take little to no brain cells to consume. I think it is just as important as meditation. For me, it keeps me going, and in many ways, builds community with everyone else who is watching the madness. I loved New York, for everything she was and wasnt: crazy, fun, and unapologetically herself. These days, I still have love for New York. She has changed and evolved but remains very much aware of what has gotten her here. She may have been cast as the punchline, but was always in on the joke.

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Jesse Kadjo is an activist and writer living in Oakland, CA. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jessekadjo or at her blog thechocolatemousse.com where she shares recipes and food inspiration.