Monday, January 7, 2013


Part of my regimen of self-care for the past couple of years has been my Winter Plan. 

This usually involves taking about one day of vacation per month during those long, cold winter months (February seeming to be the longest) during which there are no statutory holidays at all from New Year's Day to Easter. (No, the place where I work doesn't allow that civic holiday in mid-February, and I don't cound Valentine's Day because it's a normal workday for me.) 

Today is one of those vacation days. I had requested it in late October, and had forgotten about it until about three weeks ago, when I was checking what leave I'd taken so far, and saw that request sitting there. (Bonus!) 

That's when the plan took shape. I'd not purchased a Christmas gift for my husband yet, and a suggestion from an acquaintance of mine was niggling in the back of my mind.

So, I went to and looked into slashed prices for an overnight getaway. 

I found one. It sounded marvelous: a traditional room with a fireplace, and a free continental breakfast ... rated at four and a half stars. It was pricey even with the deal I was getting, but I figured it was well worth it... so I booked it.

Last night, around 5 pm, we arrived at the hotel, which had private off-street parking. We were greeted warmly, told where the elevator was and what complimentary beverages would be available (and when), and given our pass keys, as well as a card addressed to me (as the one who had booked the room) and some other information. 

The card itself was an engraved welcome to me by name, and wishes for a great stay. Okay, that was amazing in itself. 

Little touches like that were what we noticed most about our stay. We got a phone call in the room, fifteen minutes after checking in, just to see if everything was to our liking. When we went out for supper (around 7 because we'd had a late lunch) and returned, we saw that our blinds had been lowered and drapes shut, with Ovation mints and yet another card wishing us a great evening at the hotel waiting for us on freshly turned-down bed linens. 

We soaked in the quietness of this little nook. It was like a healing balm for the harried soul. 

We made use of the gas fireplace ... a LOT. 

The casement windows were a breeze to open and shut; we left one open a crack (since we weren't on the main floor) to provide some fresh air all night. We slept soundly and awoke refreshed, relaxed. The pace of life shifted into slow-motion; we savoured every moment. Nothing was rushed.

This morning, we enjoyed a luxurious continental breakfast in the lobby (itself so posh with leather couches, a grand fireplace, and an old upright piano in the corner). As for the food, they even had single-serving quiches as well as the usual fare, like muffins, bagels, biscuits, bread for toasting, and other surprises like four kinds of juices (served in a carafe with an ice-cylinder insert to keep them chilled, and coffee or hot water for tea. Once breakfast was over, they reset the lobby landscape, and revealed a huge Keurig machine and various kinds of K-cups for different tastes ... which we indulged, of course. 


I can honestly say that I have never felt so pampered in my life, and hubby said the same. 

You know that feeling of everything being "right" in the world? the one where you just want to hug everything about that experience to yourself and make it last as long as you possibly can? The warmth of that very feeling was there from the first moment, and even after we checked out, it carried us through the rest of today as we had various errands to do. Early this afternoon, when I spoke in person to that acquaintance who'd suggested an overnight getaway, she told me that I was just glowing, that I looked so relaxed. 

It was relaxing; the whole experience was a time to decompress, to allow ourselves to be cared for, to be "made over" as the old-timers would say. 

Four years ago, I never would have considered doing such a thing. And now (although it would be nice to be able to do it more often) I'm even daring to dream about making it a regular (i.e., annual) thing.  

As miraculous as my recovery has been, this aspect of looking after myself has taken quite a while to grasp. As I've come to understand it, self-care is all about allowing good things to happen and not pushing them away just because of the lies I believed for so long: "I'm not worth it, nice people look after others first, and looking after myself is selfish." This getaway was a strong hint, not only to my husband (that he's worth that kind of spoiling ... and so much more!) but to me as well. 

I think I'm starting to get the message.

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