Some Self Care in Costa Rica

Self care is not just an important part of a tiny house build, I have learned (the hard way…as always) that it is a necessity. After a really difficult Fall term, re-learning how to balance school with the build and this time adding a teaching assistantship into the mix, Tish and I knew we had to have a really productive winter break if we were going to get this house done by our March 1 deadline. And let me tell you, we.kicked.ass.

When I become immersed in a project, the first thing to go out the window for me is self care. I am stubborn, refuse to quit and really really good at ignoring my body when it tells me to slow down and take a break. Fortunately, Tish wanted to go to Costa Rica for her birthday and was able to convince me to join her. I was incredibly stressed and anxious about leaving the build for a week, but Tish and I sat down to make a plan and it seemed like missing one week wasn’t going to make or break the build. I settled into the idea of letting go of my fears and worries and began to relax mentally and physically…… naturally, I got sick.

It was like my body was teaching me a lesson. I came down with a bad cold the day before we left which had me hopped up on Dayquil so that I’d survive the long travel day without feeling too miserable. As my immune system strengthened and kicked the cold, my body began to deteriorate. I have a recurring shoulder injury that came back in full force and had me down for the count for three days. In misery, I laid on a beach chair staring out into the beautiful ocean and realized I could no longer afford to ignore my body. I promised myself (and Tish) that I would do a better job of balancing progress on the build and school with self care: making time to stretch, eat better, get enough sleep, and relax mentally.

As I recovered and healed in Costa, I had planned to catch up on blogging our build, but the fact is, both my body and mind desperately needed a break from the tiny house . I didn’t realize that just taking time off physically (i.e. not going down to the house to build) would not provide a enough of a break. As I started writing about the build my body began tensing up again, and I felt the familiar inner panic I have learned to live with over the past 16 months. I decided to save as draft, close my laptop and enjoy where I was in the moment.

There’s something comforting about traveling back to the same place time and again. Witches Rock (well…Tamarindo), Costa Rica holds a special place in our hearts — it’s where Tish proposed to me — but it has also become a place we find ourselves traveling to often. Usually when we travel it is to have a new adventure, see a new country, experience a new culture but there is a lot of value in the familiar, especially when you’re trying to escape from a stressful project. I spent the final days of my trip basking in the sun on the beach and by the pool and watching Tish surf. Tish and I tried freediving on her birthday and shared a delicious meal while we  watched the sun set. I left the next morning feeling rejuvenated and ready to be productive once I got back to Portland.

Of course, that isn’t how life works out sometimes. The day I got back I received a text letting us know our dream spot to park the house wasn’t going to happen. This sent me into a “there’s no way we are going to finish the house in time and now we don’t even have anywhere to put it” funk which removed any inkling of motivation I came home with. Turns out my motivation feeds on momentum, without it procrastination sets in. So, instead of working on the house I waited for Tish to return from Costa Rica (she stayed an extra week to surf), tried to catch up on school work and hung out with our pup who followed me around the apartment, very concerned that I might leave her again at any moment.

As a true testament to our incredible partnership, Tish came home and immediately made me feel like we would get through this, find a place to put the house and find a way to finish the build on time. We now have several potential places to put the house and are going to view a few today. Fingers crossed we find our spot really soon so that we can put in our 30 day notice at our apartment… for the build, we’ll be jumping back in this week and going full steam ahead until its done, finding time to take breaks for self care of course.