This blog post is written by Leah Gutermuth (Perrotta) who was married just last month. Congratulations, Leah!
After 18 months of planning, organizing and rehearsing – the weekend I’d been dreaming about since I started dating my high school sweetheart nine years ago was finally here – our wedding weekend!
Regardless of how much prep I’d done in the months leading up to the big event, the week before the wedding was a blur. I was trying to get everything done and perfectly in place before the wedding weekend so I could focus all of my attention on wedding and honeymoon festivities. After many sleepless nights and working on overdrive – I finished my last meeting at work. I was feeling exhausted, but finally free and overwhelmed with excitement to marry my soulmate.
Wedding weekend was a dream – filled with the people I love most, sharing special moments with my parents and future in-laws, and reliving our love story. Everyone had told me that it would fly by, and in the blink of an eye the rehearsal, ceremony, reception and after party were in the books! Did everything go exactly as planned? Absolutely not, but it was the best weekend of my life and in the last two love-filled weeks, there have been so many lessons learned about life, love (for myself and others), and taking time to reflect. So, I wanted to share some of these lessons with my favorite Gundalow community and, as always, how Gundalow continues to be a special part of these lessons.
Lesson #1: Self-care comes first. While trying to get everything done at work in the week leading up to the wedding, I struggled to find the time to keep myself afloat – while knowing I would have two weeks to relax kept me pushing forward, the lack of sleep, exercise and breaks were pushing me to my limits (think the snickers commercials, except “you’re not you when you’re tired”) – needless to say, my soon-to-be husband faced the brunt of it, with emotional breakdowns spreading like wildfire. What did help me during this stressful week? Support from loved ones, the excitement of the weekend and the convenience of Gundalow to make nutrition a no-brainer. My go-to’s were Dockside Sunrise in the mornings, a Ginger Shot mid-afternoon for a pick-me-up and a post-workout Watermelon Waves if I was lucky enough to sneak in a sweat session. I’m still working on the sleep part….
Lesson #2: Take time to enjoy the little things. This was the biggest piece of advice given by family and friends. It was important to me to stop and take in the little moments as they were happening. This was easier said than done, but I used a few deep breaths in the moment to help me stay present. Seeing the wedding party arrive for rehearsal, sipping Gundalosas with my favorite women while getting ready, singing Shania Twain in the bridal suite before the ceremony, and sneaking two minutes with my new hubby outside during the reception – these have become mental snapshots that I will always be grateful for. (Gundalosa must-haves – try Starboard Strawberry, Sailors Delight, champagne, and these fun “drinking buddies”)
Lesson #3: Set boundaries. My husband and I set strict “no work” boundaries on the honeymoon – no checking work emails and no talking about work – a full work detox to keep the focus on our honeymoon adventures and each other. I may have slipped a few times (progress, not perfection!), but setting these boundaries from the beginning helped me stay on track and led me to feel a newfound clarity in my thoughts that I haven’t felt in years – between being a college athlete, juggling work and grad school, and then diving right into my full-time job (with several “side hustles” along the way), I couldn’t even remember the last time the focus was just on living in the moment.
Lesson #4: Make play a priority. The work boundaries we set also helped me rediscover the joys of having fun! Being in a new place and experiencing new adventures without my mind flip-flopping between all of the things I “had to do” brought me back to that feeling of pure joy and excitement that we often lose after childhood. It also made room in my mind for some newfound creativity – ideas that I can’t wait to further explore now that we are back in Baltimore. This was also inspired by Brené Brown – I’ve listened to her on my favorite podcast – Oprah’s SuperSoul and am in the process of reading one of her books – The Gifts of Imperfection.
Lesson #5: Take time to disconnect. We were often without cell service for long periods of time on our hikes and because of the time difference in Hawaii, our schedules weren’t in-sync with our friends and family. This surprisingly led to uninterrupted meals, deeper conversations, and opportunities to be more present. This will always be a work in progress, but the small shift and few hours of “digital detox” each day created new opportunities for us to connect. I’d like to continue this trend by setting my phone to airplane mode on weekends for a few hours without interruption.
Lesson #6: Write it down. Per the recommendation of one of my mentors, we kept a hand-written travel journal to document our adventures, meals, and funny stories. We were shocked at how much we had already forgotten about when reading back some of the entries from earlier in the week. Sharing our journaling responsibilities was also a bonding experience – seeing the handwritten notes, and reading each other’s interpretation of each new experience helped us connect in a new way. We enjoyed the opportunity to reflect so much so that we’ve both decided to start keeping our own personal journal and continue our travel journal entries for future trips.
We both feel so grateful for the opportunity we had to take this time to focus on each other and disconnect from the hustle bustle of our daily lives. Is it realistic to think that every time life gets overwhelming, a two-week vacation is the answer? Of course not, but the biggest lesson learned during this relaxing retreat is the importance of truly disconnecting.
A mental break can be as simple as 30 seconds or as extravagant as a relaxing getaway – you get to decide how to disconnect. Need some inspiration for “you” time? Go for a mindful walk or run, read a book (check out some of Brené Brown’s best sellers), watch your favorite TV show, sit in a coffee shop, slowly sip on your favorite Gundalow drink at the Farmer’s Market, take 2-3 deep breaths, feel each drop of water rain down on you in the shower – customize your “you” time and make it your personal oasis.
Taking uninterrupted time for yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s essential to your well-being. At Gundalow, we challenge you this month to fuel your ambitions by disconnecting – what will you discover about yourself along the journey?