My Dad has always been an inspiration to me. He is strong, confident, smart, funny, talented, and has always encouraged me to do what I wanted in life.
But over the last few years, I've realized how much I really want to be like him. Really.
He's a lot more relaxed than I ever remember him being when I was growing up. He also sees things in a different way. In a good way. He tells me that everything happens for a reason and that he, too, believes we all have a purpose in life. "Everything will fall into place naturally," he reassures me.
My Dad is thoroughly enjoying life; and he doesn't care in the slightest what other people think (which is an amazing attribute). He's always the life of the party, and makes the best of every situation. I'm trying hard to instill these values into my sons. No matter what, he's always ready to cheer me up with a song or two on his guitar when I need it most.
My Dad also believes in relaxation and being as stress-free as possible. In fact, since retirement, he has pursued his life-long dream of traveling to South America every Winter for a couple months. Even in his 60's, he stayed with a Nicaraguan family so he could attend Spanish classes at a local school. He now knows how to speak Spanish. I admire him for following his passions.
I remember my Dad saying he wanted to travel to South America when we were growing up but never had the time or money. But now he does and I'm so happy for him. All he packs is one small backpack of clothes and his Blackberry so he can call home to my Mom and his grandchildren. He is still following his dream today. He has met many people along the way, and even managed to find the only Irish pub on a small Island where he says he feels the most relaxed: Ometepe, Nicaragua. I adore his adventurous side and determination to do his thing.
So in the spirit of Father's Day, I'd like to thank my Dad for all the wonderful things he has taught me, and ultimately, all the things my kids will learn from their Papa. I think you're awesome, Dad. Happy Father's day!
This past weekend was a real eye-opener for me. After a few stressful months and some personal health issues, my sister, mom and I decided to spend a weekend away at St. Anne's Spa. When we were finally able to clear our schedules at work and book, I couldn't wait to get there. We drove an hour and a half to east of Toronto just past Cobourg, Ontario. The weather was still brisk, yet we felt the warmth of the sun beam through the car windows. A sure sign that the next few days would be worth all the anticipation and saved pennies.
The reason for our brief getaway was to take some time to unwind and relax. And relax we did. In a matter of 48 hours I had experienced four r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g body treatments: A Thai massage (which I thought was amazing); a lush botanical resurfacing facial; invigorating back cleansing stone massage; and inspiring Reiki treatment to make sure all of my chakras were in tact. All four treatments were relaxing in their own way, but nothing short of rejuvenating. In fact, the entire spa weekend was nothing like I had ever experienced before. It was similar to a vacation-resort setting with hot tubs, pools, steam rooms, a gym and cardio room, dining area, complimentary Nicaraguan coffee (yum), snacks and beautiful grounds to explore. But the big surprise was that everyone walked around with their robe and slippers on (that's it). This took a little getting used to but we seemed to fit in quite nicely after oh... just a few minutes. We also enjoyed a yoga class to concentrate on the mind-body connection, and my mom attended a meditation session. Om.
We rented one of the off-site chalets (well it reminded me of a ski chalet anyways) that was located only a brief walk from the main house. We also made our way to the horse stables and the spa bakery on our way out. Just beautiful. What better way to enjoy some time away to concentrate on me? Nothing to worry about except to make sure we were on time for our next massage. Priceless.
During our stay I couldn't help but think of how valuable these types of mini vacations are to relieve the stresses of every day life. To think that a place such as this, with so much history and calmness, can actually transform you in a couple of days. I needed it, that's for sure! I'd definitely go back. In fact, perhaps we'll make it a bi-annual event
What do you do to relax? Do you take the time to get away from it all? Take a few moments to visualize your ultimate relaxation method. And if you can, plan a weekend away with the girls.
Kerrie Lee Brown is a sought-after health and lifestyle expert. She writes books, blogs and articles and is published all over the world. Kerrie Lee is also a heart-health survivor and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows sharing life-saving tips for women on how to listen to their bodies and slow down. Kerrie Lee is a mom and proud Canadian living in Denver, Colorado.