Date Night for One? Sign Me Up!

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day

During my time at home for  Thanksgiving with my family, and it was wonderful catching up with them after several months of not being home.  Between cooking, running errands, shopping and doing homework during my short trip was quite exhausting.  Especially since I was constantly swamped with deadlines from school, the add-on stress at home made me felt overwhelmed, I was drained.  Then I realized that it’s been a good minute since the last time I had some alone time for myself, to reflect on my current wellbeing.

Speaking from my personal experience, day to day activities such as going to the gym or taking time to rest is for physical fulfillment and they can also help to ease our stress.  But it is so easy to get caught up in doing those activities over and over again without putting in thoughts and actually taking time to listen to reflect on your mental health.  Sometimes I would ask myself why am I not feeling my best? Or why am I not feeling good altogether? It took me a while but I finally came across the answer during my MBA class for human behavior.  A person cannot stay at peak performance all the time, it is impossible to always be in a state of focus and 100% efforts.  I cannot expect myself to always be feeling my best because I simply don’t have the energy to dedicate 100% of myself to every single aspect of my life.  But since I am living in a culture that strives to always stay busy with endless worries and obligations, the illusion of staying at the peak always exist.  I realized that I am not made to endure stress for a long period of time.  A person cannot pour from an empty cup, so as things happen,  I was relying on my ever empty cup.

“Self-love is asking yourself what you need – every day – and then making sure you receive it.”

I returned to Charlotte a day early in order to get back to my normal routine before a big event.  I decided that it would have been too much to travel back on the same day as the event, and by allowing myself time to settle will help me focus on performing the next day.  The drive home was a bit bittersweet because I wanted to stay at home longer, and I would be returning to Charlotte all alone, I didn’t want to be sad at home.  So as I was making my way onto I-77, I decided to take myself on a date.

Where? I wanted to be somewhere with a nice crowd but not too crowded or noisy.  I’ve always wanted to write a blog in Vietnamese, so I thought maybe I should continue reading one of my favorite Vietnamese books.  Reading is my way of unwinding, and it often introduces new ideas that I’ve never thought of.  So after 10 minutes of k-pop music blasting in my car, I decided on a wine shop nearby.

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Steve Maraboli

As soon as I step into the apartment, I quickly put away my bags and made my way to the closet.  I wanted to find a nice outfit for the occasion, so I quickly settled on a new dress that I bought from Black Friday.  I took a shower, blow dried my hair and treated myself to a skin care session.  I did my makeup, as usual, wore my favorite perfume, and put on my favorite accessories.  I felt polished, and I felt beautiful.  The best thing, I put in the efforts to look good so I can take myself out on a date.  When life gets busy, we often spend more time getting ready for people, work, and commitments, but we don’t take the time and give the efforts for ourselves.  And the time of getting ready has helped me with showing appreciation for my body.

I arrived at the wine shop with my favorite book.  After ordering a glass of Moscato, I found a seat near the window where it is framed by string lights.  The setting was romantic and charming, and as I settled into my seat, I took time to enjoy the space around me.  I thought, “I’m really here for a date night, by myself, and it feels strangely satisfying.”  I found myself quickly absorbed into the book about the Dragon Lady Madame Nhu, during the Vietnam War.  I came across several sections of the character trying to find time for herself and her unapologetic attitude for being true to her values.

The insights were helpful as I took time to reflect on my personal values, and taking advice from the Madame.  I gave myself times to think through my current state, asked myself questions about where I see myself in 5 years, and what are the important things in my life right now.  I intended on listening to myself like I am my own best friend (it’s not as lonely as it sounds ^.^’), and to be honest I have no reasons to not be my own best friend.

“The love and attention you always thought you wanted from someone else, is the love and attention you first need to give to yourself.” – Bryant McGillns

As the date was coming to an end, I thought about the next time I should take myself out.  Although I was just on the road driving through the bad traffic only 2 hours ago, I felt rested and at peace.  Why? I slowed down and checked in with myself.  After checking in, I allowed myself to vent my frustrations and worries.  I listened to the things that were making me happy and sad, and I came up with interventions for myself.

Thank you for reading ^.^

Linh

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