“Are You Carving Out Time For Your Health & Mind?”

That’s a question that was posed to me recently by a dear friend during a discussion we were having while catching up. And to be honest, one that I struggled to answer. The funny thing about happiness, or mental health, or spiritual fulfillment, or heck.. even love, is that it’s not a destination to reach and then yours to wear like a badge. It takes work, every single day.

I picture my life like a beautiful wall of cogs of various sizes, all moving in harmonious balance with one another. Except, if I don’t give them all the attention and care they need, one might get a little rusted. As that one slows down or stops, they are all affected. Every action causing a reaction in my life. And lately I’ve been feeling a little rusty I guess.

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Normally, when asked “How are things”, I respond by saying I’m fine and really busy. The deflection answer that everyone is comfortable hearing. Because what if the person you asked the question to is actually honest and you realize you weren’t ready to hear the truth? It’s something I am faced with and have had to deal with in my life both personally and professionally.

I find myself shying away from people who say one thing and do another these days. Isolation is a real problem in my life when I feel overwhelmed. And by no means is that any one person’s fault. I think that disappointment and stress in my life can really just push me away from people in general. Because there are a handful of people in my life that know me inside and out, good and the bad Most others are acquaintances or “friends” that I can’t actually answer that question with when they ask.

I’m fine, and they smile, and onwards the conversation goes. Little do we know the battle that someone might be facing on the inside. It reminds me of a really powerful photoshoot I did a few years ago and this one particular photo.

So this year, as I start to work on a few rusty cogs, I am realizing that I should be working a lot more on me again. I am rekindling good friendship that feed my heart and soul. I am reminding myself to write, read, and exercise because those are pieces of me that I sometimes put down in the name of “being busy.” I am spending time with my husband and reconnecting with him in ways that I think are easy to forget after being together for almost a decade. And most of all, I am trying my best to let go of the past. Because lately it feels like it is weighing me down.

I am going to be sharing more positive messages because I believe in them and feel as though we have all gotten a little lost in a cycle. I was speaking to this same friend during a yoga retreat about my goals for 2020, and realized that I hadn’t done that in a while. I found myself making a mood board – a first for me, btw – and it showcased everything in my life that I could ever want for myself this year and in the coming years.

Setting down roots, having a family, travel and love. All of them equally important cogs that I had started to neglect and let get a bit dirty.

I am happy, so please don’t think that I am not. But happiness is a journey not a destination and it’s time I clean up the path along the way for myself so that I can truly enjoy it and myself. I know that the world is full of people who will comment on my life, my choices, my body and my work. But I’ve finally gotten to a point where I don’t care about what they say.

2020 is the year for me. From me.

Photos: Amanda Hayden Photography, Daniel Reyes & All Social Media accounts listed above

Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year

Daniel Reyes