Have you ever noticed how easy it is to collect clutter? I’m the kind of person who really hates to litter because I know how precious our environment is not only to human survival but generally. I consciously collect the day’s bottles, candy wrappers, receipts and other odds and ends in my handbag so by the end of the day, I always have a lot to offload. It feels like a similar thing is happening in my mind sometimes. A mass of thoughts, often negative, being held onto that I do not need. My favourite place to “offload” is the beach. Going to the beach used to be ritualistic for myself and my family, we went every day before my brothers and I started school and then once that got in the way we went every Sunday without fail. It’s always been an escape to me.
I’ve recently accepted my battle with anxiety and panic disorder (something I hope to share more on once I win it) and a relaxation technique that I’m always advised to try is visualization. I’m sure it’s something you have all heard before (even if referenced in a movie):
“Imagine yourself on a nice relaxing beach… “
Here in the Caribbean, we are blessed enough to not have to imagine. In Barbados, a public beach is almost never further than 30 minutes away by bus. We neglect the most natural relaxation technique. I’d like to share a few relaxing things to do at the beach, that you could do alone or with a friend:
Swim – I mean, obviously. It’s great exercise and extremely refreshing on a hot day. You should never go swimming at the sea alone, because even the best of swimmers can never predict the volatility of the ocean. Even if you’re not a strong swimmer, just dipping your legs in the water can be extremely relaxing.
Observe – Do you remember what it was like as a child? When the crash of waves were scary, finding blue pieces of glass along the shoreline was the most exciting thing and you could run for hours chasing the edge of the water. Growing up somehow makes you lose that bright-eyed wonder (and all that energy). This is why at the beach I prefer to occasionally just sit and watch the beauty unfold before me.
Beauty Treatments – Nope, you did not read that wrong. I love to use the soft west coast sand to exfoliate my legs and feet. Simply rub it all over and massage gently, I’m usually wearing coconut oil (natural SPF 4-5) which allows the sand to stick more effectively and give a good scrub. I also like to walk with a leaf of aloe vera to the beach and I use it in my hair as a shampoo/conditioner. This is also the method my father and brothers use to cleanse their dreadlocks. Just make sure you rinse your hair with fresh water after returning home.
Read – This is something I myself need to work on. Reading opens the mind, and is accompanied perfectly by gentle crashing waves and the sound of birds and children’s faint laughter. If you like to read, and have never done it at the beach…. what are you waiting for!? Just remember to bring water and a snack, a nice comfy beach towel/chair and find somewhere shaded!
Soak Up Some Sun – I love my skin when it has that extra radiance of a tan, it makes my feel more confident and look extra defined in photos! I also find it very therapeutic. It’s important to minimize damage to your skin while tanning so make sure to apply SPF 30+ sunscreen or tanning oil, stay hydrated and avoid the most intense sun between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
Dig A Hole – Yeah, I know it sounds silly but you would be surprised how relaxing this or building a sand castle can be! It’s something my brothers and I did a lot as children with the goal of digging the hole deep enough to reach water. It’s actually also an amazing upper body workout!
Thank you so much for reading and I really hope that everyone takes a step back from “life” and uses some of these if not other techniques to relax. You deserve it!
These photos are un-retouched and were taken at Gibbs Beach, Barbados by an old friend Kashif who is based in MD, Unites States. The products I used to achieve this makeup look can be discovered here!