It’s been quite a while since I tapped upon the keyboard to write my blog. Despite some inspiration from Blogfest back in the autumn, I haven’t felt compelled to write much. I’m not sure if I’ve had what’s called writer’s block, or if my lack of wordiness is simply down to a sense that I haven’t had much to say or share outwardly. Sometimes it’s good to just be with one’s thoughts. I also wondered if I was going through what so many people go through, which is to judge myself a bit too harshly and to feel that what I have to create, share, write and so on is really not that interesting to anyone. Mmm, a bit of self-doubt then. So rather than just doing it anyway, for my own sake, I came to a grinding halt. With hindsight, I suppose I haven’t been writing for other reasons too - I’ve been rather occupied with life in general and I’d lost my rhythm in writing. It’s now March and after a three month hiatus I’m feeling the urge to get tapping.
I suspect moving and finding myself in the most gorgeous countryside, and in a lovely home, is contributing to my new found enthusiasm. What I’m enjoying about living here, as I suspected I would, is that the space and surroundings are nurturing my soul. I’m reminded in some ways of the time I lived in Costa Rica. In fact, there are a number of parallels - from the vistas to the winding roads, the elevation to the general lifestyle. For the first time in ages, I feel like doing some Qi Gong in the mornings, and I haven’t done that since my time in the tropics. I also find myself just stopping…taking time out to pause and reflect as I look upon some small, yet perfectly exquisite part of the natural tapestry of life – be it the bubbling brook on a forest walk or a frost-encrusted hill dotted with sheep, or a robin pecking at a bit of bread I’ve left on the table outside. I am reminded to be still and to be grateful.
Being in nature can certainly help centre us and take a breath. But there are other ways we can take time out. I’ve recently started 21-day meditation challenge (thanks Michele) and I love how in already four days I feel more at peace inside. Just doing this practice 15 minutes every day – sitting at my desk, listening to Deepak Chopra’s dulcet tones as he guides me through the meditation is a very agreeable way to take some space for myself.
Taking time out is important. It helps keep our stress levels low, allows us to relax and nurtures our spirit. How about trying a few of these whenever you feel life is getting a bit too stressful or you’re feeling anxious and in need of a break.
Listen to music you love
Not just whilst doing the chores, though of course that can be great. Instead, try listening with intention…a bit like you might have done as a teenager when you would hang out in your room and just stick a few tunes on and lie back on your bed, fully listening to the lyrics and music.
Take an interest
Get involved in a hobby or activity you’ve been meaning to do for a while; ideally a nice contrast to your every-day life. So, if you use your body a lot at work, try something more cerebral or creative. If you’re in front of a computer most of the time, get your hands or body into something like cooking, sculpture or dance.
Take a walk
Simple and effective, this is a great way to clear your head, be with your thoughts or just be present to the beauty around you with every step you take.
When was the last time you curled up on the sofa and got stuck in to a good book? Or took yourself to the cinema for a nice afternoon matinee? Or the theatre?
Have a proper pamper
Something as relaxing as a nice candle-lit bath can work wonders for a bit of me-time. Or go further with a nice pamper session – a massage, facial, pedicure…a nice treatment where the focus is you.
Have a boogie or just get physical
Dance around the kitchen to your favourite dance track; jump up and down doing star jumps; run up and down the stairs a few times or of course you could just head to the gym and workout or take a swim. Basically taking a bit of time to do something physical always has both stress-relieving and relaxation benefits.
Taking time out isn’t always about taking time by yourself. Make time to see friends, have a date with your partner, and play fully with your kids.
It’s funny but even writing this tonight feels good; I took some time out to do something I enjoy. Just for me.
“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” Danny Kaye