My Winter Quest for Wellness

by gigigriffis

I arrived in Arizona on a mission.

After a year of battling sickness and facing my long-time foes, depression and anxiety, head-on, I needed to get myself back to center, back to health, back to…well, myself.

So I came to northern Arizona and committed to 4+ months in the snowy mountains near my best friend. I came because I needed to be near her. I needed the support. I needed community. And I stayed longer than usual because I need the time to heal, to try some new things, to focus on wellness.

For a month now, I’ve been taking vitamins and probiotics. I’ve been kick boxing or working out almost daily. I’m at the library every week picking up stacks of new reading material, which I read cozied up in front of our fireplace on cold nights or sitting in the warm sunroom during the day.

I’ve been re-evaluated by a Psychiatrist and, inspired by this, I’ve gone back on a very low dose of anti-depressants. Since week one, I’ve stopped worrying myself half to death about work and finances and I’m bouncing back much quicker from small setbacks.

I’m making new friends, too, and going out a lot, to literary readings and storytelling events and Southwestern restaurants and cozy coffee shops for long philosophical talks. The community here has already astounded me with their artistic inclinations and mindful lives.

And, significantly, I’ve been working a lot less than usual.

This may be the biggest change and the most important.

For pretty much all of my 20s, I worked my butt off. I put in my 80-hour ad agency workweeks. Then I started a freelance business. Then I started a second one. And then in the last couple years, I worked relentlessly to get the books off the ground, writing and publishing six guides in two years.

I was, not surprisingly, exhausted.

I don’t think I realized the extent of that exhaustion until this month, though. When my scheduled opened up and my workload halved itself.

I still finished my New York guide. I’ve still had things to do. But instead of long days and often working a bit on the weekends, I’ve been working mornings and taking the afternoons off. I’ve been letting things sit on the weekends while I went to events or on dates.

I’ve felt relaxed (which is quite the statement for a normally anxious person).

And so I am already starting to think of this year as a success, as a time of redemption, as a cause for optimism.

Perhaps the turning point is finally here.

How has your year been so far?

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Emily February 4, 2016 - 1:12 pm

I love this! I am also making it a goal this year to live more intentionally (especially in where/when/how I spend my money) and strike the right balance between work and play.
Happy 2016, all! :)

gigigriffis February 4, 2016 - 1:58 pm


Karen Field February 4, 2016 - 1:36 pm

I don’t know you personally but I love your blog and your writing always strikes a chord. It warms my heart to read this post. You inspire me ?

gigigriffis February 4, 2016 - 1:58 pm

Thank you!

Tina February 4, 2016 - 3:12 pm

Flagstaff does a person good. Glad you are here. ;-)

gigigriffis February 4, 2016 - 9:05 pm

Me too!

Dave February 4, 2016 - 3:39 pm

Good to hear you’re improving. How’s Luna. We just took on a rescue Maltese, I now have 3! Hope you continue your blog as I very much enjoy what you do. Hoping to get back to vacation soon, maybe Jamacia Mon!

gigigriffis February 4, 2016 - 9:06 pm

Congrats on your new rescue! And thank you! I definitely plan on continuing to blog.

Debbie February 5, 2016 - 5:18 am

I too enjoy reading your blog! You may want to check out the passion planner, it’s a great way to organize your life! I also enjoy adult coloring books to help me relax.

gigigriffis February 6, 2016 - 4:03 pm


Lynne Nieman February 5, 2016 - 8:24 am

So happy to hear you are doing well. You know I can relate to the working too much. As I build my online travel planning business there is always so much to do. But, I am mindful of taking time out for me. And I know that those breaks actually make me more productive and, as a result, a better person. So keep taking care of yourself, Gigi. It’s nice to hear less stress in your voice…

gigigriffis February 6, 2016 - 4:04 pm

Glad to hear you’re taking care of yourself, as well!

Ann February 5, 2016 - 9:49 am

I’m really glad to read your are feeling better and are finding a better work-life balance. Any plans to share photos and give us a peep into the beautiful, N Az snowy wonderland?! :) Your situation sounds marvelous out there!

gigigriffis February 6, 2016 - 4:04 pm

Absolutely! I’ll be blogging and working on an AZ guidebook while I’m here.

Ali February 5, 2016 - 11:50 am

I’m so happy for you that this year is off to a good start, and that Flagstaff seems to have a lot of what you need right now. I can relate to that feeling of exhaustion from overworking yourself without realizing it for so long. I’m confident you’ll find a way to find a good balance there. (As always, LOVE the cute Luna picture!)

gigigriffis February 6, 2016 - 4:14 pm


Evening February 5, 2016 - 4:42 pm

Good for you, Gigi. Get some well deserved rest & relaxation and take the time you need to heal your soul with some great company, getting grounded. Namaste.

gigigriffis February 6, 2016 - 4:14 pm

Thank you, m’dear!

Hung Thai February 6, 2016 - 12:23 pm

I hope everything works out for you and you find that peace and happiness you’re looking for. I love the snow – i think it’s so refreshing and relaxing and I’m sure that’ll help you with your journey to wellness.

gigigriffis February 6, 2016 - 4:15 pm


rob February 7, 2016 - 3:56 am

We are adaptable animals and I’m feeling pretty awesome right now, despite some setbacks.

How long will you be in Arizona? I am planning on heading there for a long weekend sometime in the next 4-6 weeks, all things being equal. A cup of coffee and a chat would certainly improve my day. I suppose I should ask where you are, too… :)

gigigriffis February 7, 2016 - 9:08 am

I’m in AZ through early May – Flagstaff.


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