I was recently lucky enough to get away for five days with four friends. We packed up our flip flops and headed due south to a funky little beach town on Mexico’s Gulf Coast for a few days of girl time; no husbands, no kids, no commitments.
Each morning began with good coffee, freshly pressed juice and copious chit chat. The unscheduled schedule continued with daily beach walks, yoga, reading, naps, more chit chat, and of course, heaps of delicious Mexican food. The sunlight on the water, the wind in the trees, the ocean pounding rhythmically below, the friends by my side, their stories as varied as grains of sand, inspired a thankfulness that ran to my very core and more than once brought tears to my eyes.
As great as our days were - sunshine, surf, barefoot freedom, gratitude for the immense natural beauty of our surroundings - the nights were even better. An iced, limey margarita usually coincided with the sunset and kicked off an evening of camaraderie, commiseration, wine, laughter, and a sense that no matter what daily life brings, friendship and family are the fabric that holds it all together.
And this, in a nutshell, is what wellness is all about. Of course great, fresh, food is fundamentally important. Ditto regular exercise, a balanced lifestyle, a sense of purpose. But when it comes right down to it, our communities, friendships, neighbours, siblings, parents, all those tiny little human connections we make each and every day, make us better, happier people. We are social creatures and, in study after study, it has been shown that our health largely rises and falls on our connectedness to one another.
A change in scenery was the perfect antidote to the slop of winter, but whether you get on a plane or plan a night out, making time for friends in the race of the everyday is like shuffling your personal deck of cards. Half an hour in and you’ve usually forgotten what was bugging you all day. If you’re lucky, they’ll make you laugh and leave you smiling for days afterwards. What's better than that?