What I learned about self-care and recharging my batteries on holidays

Self-care Alessia Gandolfo Life Coach

My flight landed in Rome just a few hours ago, and I already feel immersed again in my life back home. I took a delicious relaxing bath and put on a bamboo Korean face mask, pure bliss!




Self-care is always a practice, a work in progress. Some days I completely forget about it, like yesterday when I was running hundreds miles per hour to get as much done as possible to leave for holidays in peace, and some days I feel very connected to it, like today soaking in the bath.

A few years back, in a moment in which my life felt very unaligned with my truth, I was looking so hard for ways to take care of myself because my energy was so low, I literally felt drained so often . I didn’t know how to refill my cup, and honestly not even why my cup was empty in the first place. I wasn’t as busy as other people I knew, so why was I so tired? 

I didn’t know that we all have different bodies and sources of stress that trigger us so I was beating myself up a lot for being so “weak” and not resilient to modern life stress. 

Later when I started to know myself better I realized that I was particularly sensitive to the environment, taking on other people’s energy so much as well as noises, colors, smells, everything affected me. I didn’t have boundaries to protect myself so my energy was leaking out all the time leaving me empty at the end of the day.

I intuitively knew that slowing down and finding stillness was my path to recover my energies but I misunderstood the process. I was physically still, but my mind was still hyperactive.

I was a tense body paralyzed in a monkey mind, so it’s no surprise that I wasn’t really recharging, that whatever I was doing wasn’t working completely. 




I clearly remember a period in which I was spending my first year in Paris, back in the winter 2012 and I was feeling all the time my body tense as a piece of wood, especially the upper back, in between my shoulder blades . Walking along Boulevard Sebastopol on the way back home from my internship I noticed a little thai massage place with a gentle statue of buddha on the outside, and I was drawn inside. I booked a massage on the spot and I was welcomed by the sweetest thai girl, about the same age as me. I came back a few times and I started to chat with her, and I discovered that she had a degree in economics back in Thailand and she came to France for love and we actually became good friends!  It was such a soothing moment for me, but she was so surprised that every time I went back my body was so incredibly tense and I couldn’t keep my mind still, even if the lovely environment really helped me at the time.

Over the years I understood that we can do things for the body that look so indulgent and amazing , but if we’re clinging to our thoughts and worries non-stop, no massage or treatment can help us to really rest, unless we take care of the mind as well. 

Our mind is SO powerful at managing our bodies, so when we learn how to slow down the mind, we suddenly feel so much ease in the body too! It was a huge discovery for me actually.

So this is to say that I will use my holidays, all possible pockets of time to :

  • Connect to my breathe, be present, and soak in the beauty around me, to just be.  
  • I’m excited to use my camera as a tool for presence, to observe the details and make them memory. I’m also taking the August break from Susannah Conway to be creative in my photos, with simplicity and no end result, just the joy of the process.
  • Free the mind by feeling the sun on my skin ( with plenty of sunscreen on because I’m still so pale)
  • Swim in the fresh waters
  • Do some morning yoga, nothing fancy, just me and the mat and I’ll follow the Yoga Revolution by Adriane to have someone guide me and rediscover my little practice.


What are your ways to calm the monkey mind on holiday or in your everyday? Do you resonate with the misunderstading I experienced for most of my life, thinking that relaxation could work with a still body but a crazy mind ? 


It’s so funny as this was supposed to be just a little Instagram post but then it took a life of its own so I decided to put my thoughts in a blog post instead !


I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, as it was such a huge realization for me at the time ! 


PS. If you enjoy the topics of how to have mindful holidays check out this article I wrote before my holidays last year .