A Modern Day Guide to Therapeutic Lifestyle Design and Healing Chronic Stress from the Inside Out!

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area

Christina Pandolfo, MS, OTR/L, NC


5 Ways I Reconnected with Myself in Maui

5 Ways I Reconnected with Myself in Maui

Last May I was so fortunate that I was able to go on vacation in Maui with my sister, brother-in law, and family. It was my first visit there, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was right in the middle of a very stressful work assignment, and definitely could use the ‘reset’ as I called it.

Like most people that visit Maui, I was captivated by its beauty, and enchanted with the island way of living. Besides enjoying all of the obvious beauty and enchantment that Maui has to offer, Maui gave me an even greater gift – the gift of reconnecting with myself and ditching my perceived stresses I was having back at home. Before I left I reflected on this question: ‘How can I bring Maui back home with me’? I wanted to try to integrate the lifestyle reminders I learned while there, so I could incorporate them back home in my urban life.

Here are the 5 ways I reconnected with myself in Maui:

  •  I spent a lot of time outdoors and was active

 In Maui I spent so much time outdoors – whether it was walking, hiking, or swimming regularly. I realized I used to spend a lot more time outdoors when I was younger; I used to swim regularly as well. I knew when I got back home it was important for me to integrate time in nature and more physical activity because when I am doing those things I feel my best.

  • I got lots of rest

 In Maui I actually woke up practically at sunrise and went to sleep early, around 9:30 pm. This was a stark contrast to my usual night owl tendencies. Early to bed and early to rise is not a statement that would usually describe me. What was contributing to my deep rest? I believe it was my increased level of physical activity during the day, and also another huge factor: I was finally relaxed. I was able to let go of the stress around my work assignment, which helped me unwind, which subsequently helped to improve my sleep.

  •  I had an increased a sense of minimalism and simplicity in both living and appearance

I realized for me simple living equates to happy living. Although I used to describe myself as a city girl, for some time I had been craving a less busy and hectic schedule, away from the traffic and crowded parking lots. I let go of the need to wear much makeup, and allowed myself the time and space to enjoy life. We cooked most meals, and went out to eat infrequently. It was simple living at its best. Now at home, although technically still a ‘city girl’ I try to incorporate a sense of minimalism into my life, which makes me feel more peaceful.

  •  I further realized the importance of quality time with loved ones

 Quality time with the people I care about is important to me. Oftentimes in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to-do lists, this is an area of life that can get brushed aside. While in Maui the importance of quality time with my family and friends became even more apparent when I attended the beautiful nature inspired funeral of a loved one. In the stillness of the moment, feeling the ocean breeze and watching the sea turtle’s heads bobbing out of the water, I felt the connection and love of family. I felt the beauty, pain, and brevity of life, and it made me want to tell everyone I love just how much I care about them. Our friends, family, and loved ones are what help to make our lives so rich and meaningful.

  •  I got out of my comfort zone

 Here is a fun fact about me: When I was younger I used to want to be a Marine Biologist…but I was terrified of going into the ocean. I was fascinated, but terrified of the ocean. I also loved swimming…though just not in the ocean! Lots of contradictions around this topic, as you can see! At one point in college I tried to challenge my fears and took a scuba diving class (in a pool) – and did great and even got an A as my grade. However…the night before the open water dive in Monterey, I had a horrific ‘Jaws’ –worthy nightmare that I was attacked by a shark. I bailed on the open water dive to get my certification, and not only disappointed myself and my friends, but also my Dad, who scuba dived at the time. My fear took over me and won. That has been something that I haven’t forgotten, and ever since then I have wanted to get scuba certified to redeem myself!

In Maui, I finally had enough courage to go snorkeling (baby steps here), which seems relatively benign enough, but still pushed me out of my comfort zone. I am so glad that I did. It was gorgeous, and for the first time I was able to look at the colorful and incredible ocean life that I have never seen before (live and not on a television).

When I have reflected on the times I have moved past my comfort zone with new adventures or situations, I realized what a growth experience it had become. In my life currently it is learning how to operate and grow a new business, which has stretched me way beyond what I previously thought was possible. Growth =life.

Although it is a bummer I am not able to return back to Maui with my sister and family this year, I will still put into practice what I learned about myself while I was there. This year I will be on doggie patrol and working on my projects. Next year I bravely see a surfboard with my name on it, riding out of the comfort zone into the growth zone.


Mahalo Maui!

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