Not gonna lie, I am a huge fangirl of Julia Doan. Julia who? She’s a German-born Vietnamese who founded a jewelry brand called Floralpunk. I discovered Julia years ago and instantly developed a deep sense of admiration for this stylish and vulnerably honest random Internet stranger.
As I silently followed her life journey from moving to Vietnam, starting a serious business with Floralpunk, falling in love with her now boyfriend and bearing two beautiful angels. Julia shares a lot of her personal thoughts online, to which I could deeply relate. I could still remember that one time she shared a video about childhood trauma with Dr. Gabor Maté, which then kick-started my on-going self-healing journey. Never have I felt so thankful for a complete stranger.
Julia is no superwoman. She has her struggles, as her own person, as a mother, a girlfriend, a daughter, a business owner and all other roles that a person must juggle in life. Nevertheless, she doesn’t glamorize the good moments nor cover up the bad ones.
Lately, Julia mentioned a new habit that changed her life. Of all the things it could have been, it’s drinking enough water. My first thought was how obvious this habit is that it sounds absurd. Not until recently did I encounter problems after problems relating to my health that I was able to put myself in Julia’s shoes.
Similar to Julia, I like my full-time job, which takes up 41 hours of my work week. Aside from this essential work, in my free time, I try to pursue side projects. It could be writing this blog, researching a miscellaneous topic that caught my attention, or making a short film with my friends. What I did not realize was, regardless of my enthusiasm, all of this work is taxing on my health.
It didn’t help that there were many big changes in my personal life during the past months. As I finally got to comprehend why drinking enough water is so important to Julia Doan, my own body was also screaming for water, or to be more accurate, for my attention. It is important to clarify here that to me, there is no separation between the mental and the physical health. Whenever I mention the body, of course the mind is also implied.
At my lowest point, I learned the difference between work and rest. More importantly, I learned to redefine my definitions of ‘work’ and ‘rest’. ‘Rest’ means any activities that help me stay conscious of my body and to be mindful of its inner workings, ‘work’ means any activities that cause the opposite. Even when it is thrilling to ‘make things happen’, at the end of the day, it still counts as work and takes away a chunk of my time when I could have rest.
Why is it important to take a rest? Per definition, resting brings my attention back to my body and my mind. As an average human being, I don’t have an endless fountain of energy inside of me. I’m not one of those people whom you meet and think “Wow, this person is full of life.” Truth is, I am not carved for the ‘always hustling’ lifestyle. I am an introvert and my energy tank is equivalent to a 5-year old iPhone–it drains rapidly.
Thus, resting is as important to me as eating or breathing. When I am rested, I am ready to face my problems and take action. When my need for rest is denied (either intentionally or due to objective circumstances), my body subconsciously switches to ‘survival mode’ and basically runs on pure cortisol aka stress hormones. This sounds dramatic, but I’m sure it happens to the best of us.
Stress is often overlooked. In fact, there people are who pride on having a busy life. I’m not here to judge, I just know that it’s not for me. Stress has done enough damage on me and I’m done with it. On the flip side, the health problems I got due to stress have helped me get over the fear of getting diagnosed. I learned the hard way that I would rather get to the heart of the problems rather than beating around the bush in constant anxiety. With that said, it is a tough route to simple realization.
I thought that 2020 has been my year of rest and relaxation. In reality, due to the pandemic, there wasn’t much to do. Now that life is returning to the ‘new normal’, I want to have the time to drink my water, and by that, I mean to mindfully drink enough of it.
PS I bought the same water bottle as Julia’s and it is definitely helping me keeping track of my water intake.