I am writing this from one of my favorite places: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s only my second time being here in this beautiful state. The first time I was here, it automatically felt like home. I planned this trip for about four months in advance after realizing that I needed a quick escape. Six hundred thirty-one miles away from where I have built my life is not honestly a “quick” escape. 

Building my life in Philadelphia by being a first responder by day and an entrepreneur by night is not easy. Working diligently to make a difference far and wide can become exhausting. However, being here in Gatlinburg and staying in this fantastic Airbnb, at Bears Repeating hosted by William, inside the heart of the Smoky Mountains is what I needed. Working non-stop, day after day, you tend to forget to take time for yourself and relax. I believe that reflection is not only great for the body, but it does wonders for your mind. And at this point of my trip, being my last full day away from the crazy city life, it has opened up my mind to share some things for someone who lives a busy life, like me, but is so hesitant to take that time out for themselves.

  1. Life will continue to pass you by no matter what. So why put off what you can do today by doing it tomorrow? There is never a suitable time for anything. There is never a right time to start that book. There is never the right time to begin your wellness journey. There is never a right to take that cross-country trip that you always wanted to take. While you are sitting there contemplating what you want to do, why not just do it? Life will continue to live, but when will you become ready to join and live it as well?
  2. One of the most significant reflections that I’ve had so far is that I need to slow down. Living in a city with over 1.5 million people, people tend to live in a highly fast-paced aspect. Everyone is in a rush to do things, from driving their cars to speed walking. Coming to a mountain town of just over 4,000 residents, no one is really in a rush to do anything. It makes me wonder why we are in such a hurry to finish our life journey. Tomorrow’s never promised, so we should continue it while soaking up the small moments. At the end of our lifetime, those are the things that we will remember the most anyway.
  3. Relaxing can be one of the most important things you could ever do for your body. It does not seem very productive to sit around and do absolutely anything. We are so entangled with our busy work lives that relaxing is at the bottom of our to-do list. We put stress before settling when it should be the opposite. Stress is not always a bad thing because it helps us handle different stressful situations. However, stress becomes a problem when it builds up for too long and affects your body. 

You do not have to take a trip up to the Smoky Mountains to relax and break down some of the stress accumulated over the week. Some ways to hit that refresh button throughout your day are meditation, doing yoga, going for a brisk walk, and deep-breathing exercises. Sitting on this beautiful deck of the incredible A-framed cabin listening to the Webb Creek pass me by, being one with myself and all of the elements around me has become the catalyst of this entire column. Though stress is unavoidable, learning to manage it and taking the time for yourself is the best medicine for the mind, body, and soul.