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Self Love According to a Late Bloomer

The Ultimate List of Relaxing Activities for Self-Care in the Inland Northwest

By Bailey Bowerman

It felt like a real sucker punch the first time someone asked me to express an actual preference or listen to my body.

“Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve spent my whole life doing what I SHOULD do, ignoring my own instincts and my body’s cues, because they didn’t line up with what society, my parents, my teachers, my coaches, and my bosses expected from me. Now that I’ve done this for several decades, I’m supposed to treat myself kindly and listen to my body? To myself?  NO THANK YOU. I don’t even know her. ”

As the trend of “self-care” grew, it was dizzying to learn that a thing called intuitive eating existed, that my body suddenly refused to submit to societal demands, and that I am the only one capable of my healing process. It was a grizzly pill to swallow and required re-wiring a brain that was all too set in its ways. I have a feeling I am not alone in this.

I have dubbed myself a recovering attorney and all-around late bloomer. I spent most of my life in a library, living an almost monk-like existence. I was devoted to excellence and academics and determined to add to the world in a big way. I was Editor-in-Chief of Law Review and graduated second in my class, so I surprised everyone when I left the practice of law after just one year and moved to the Inland Northwest. With three degrees, little real-life experience, and unfounded optimism, I set out to follow my bliss.

Photo of author Bailey Bowerman by Amy Bjornson

I spent years sleeping minimally, working aggressively, and forcing my body to fit into spaces and perform at levels it just wasn’t cut out for. I regularly said, “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Now I know how true that statement was – I put my health at risk by trying to “have it all”. I followed well-meaning advice that only quieted my intuition and harmed my body. Substituting the advice of others for my own and shoulds for my intuition were common themes in both my professional life and health. 

Starting as children, they inundate us with “shoulds.” We are told how to feel (don’t cry – you’re fine), how to act (good kids don’t do that), and how to think. For most of our lives, bells, class schedules, coaches, bosses, timelines, and expectations control us. 

We are told when we can and can’t eat and when we can and can’t pee. When we can’t set boundaries, we’re praised. We are told to push through the pain in sports and to smile through the tears in heartbreak. We are told how our bodies should look, and we detach ourselves from them to quiet the voice that is telling us none of this feels right. We convince ourselves we’re ok with it all, that we enjoy living on adrenaline and constantly feeling behind. 

All of this, combined with existing in a fast-paced world, makes it easy to detach from our bodies, our instincts, and ourselves. Not to mention that we all survived a global pandemic, followed by a stream of social, political, and economic unrest. We were completely unprepared for any of the challenges presented by the past few years, especially the need to develop healthy relationships with ourselves. 

As a global community, it forced us to slow down and be alone with our thoughts, inner critics, and fears. We are all acutely aware of our mental health. With Baby Boomers nearing retirement, Millennials reproducing, reinventing, and reaching burnout, and Zoomers flipping the script entirely, we need to learn how to love ourselves well and often. It is more than a passing trend. 

Photo by Alex Lockett

In the 7 years since I left the legal field, I’ve transformed a few times, and I have my relationship with myself to thank for that. I’m now married, living in Idaho, and have a resume a mile long. I learned self-love late in life. It’s empowering to get the affirmation I need from myself, to walk around without a critical voice in my head, and to embrace my eccentricities. I hope you’ll join me and treat yourself a little more gently, listening to your intuition and take time to unplug in simple, approachable ways and wild and wonderful grand displays of self-affection. I also hope you’ll feel less alone in your search for peace, meaning and wellness.

In hopes of further facilitating our journey together, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite spots in Coeur d’Alene and Spokane for fostering reflection and peace. 

No-Cost Destinations to Unplug:

  • Walks on the North Idaho Centennial Trail
  • Journaling at one of the many public beaches in Coeur d’Alene
  • Weekends without Wi-Fi on Spirit Lake. If you haven’t explored this little town, it feels like a different world.
  • Going for a swim at Honeysuckle Beach in Hayden
  • Taking a picnic lunch to the Riverfront Park Pavilion

Low-Cost Destinations to Relax:

  • Enjoy a good book out for a drink at Baby Bar. The fresh squeezed greyhounds by Patti are a spiritual experience.
  • Solo coffee at Linden Coffee
  • Getting a new read at Wishing Tree Books or Auntie’s Bookstore
  • Scoring a luxe self-care product or piece of art at From Here (it’s no cost to browse the beautiful art here, too)
  • Grabbing a healthy snack to enjoy on the patio at Main Market Co-Op or Boots Bakery

Investments in Your Self-Care:

  • Classes at Align Yoga
  • Reiki and Access Bars sessions with Whitney Buck of Empowered Pivot Holistic Healing
  • Lymphatic Drainage Massage that incorporates emotional release with Sherilyn at CDA Acupuncture
  • Facials with Analisa at the Glowco Collective. She is incredibly intuitive at incorporates affirmations, meditation, and crystals.
  • Mini Retreats with the Seven Sisters.

Bailey Bowerman

Bailey is a self-proclaimed recovering attorney and late bloomer. She loves words, rest, and hyping entrepreneurs and creatives. She lives in Idaho with her husband and is decidedly and unapologetically NOT outdoorsy.

READ ALL OF Bailey’s ARTICLES HERE.

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