At the moment, in my part of the UK, we are being blessed with wonderful weather. Anyone who knows the British weather will know this situation is unlikely to last and we will all probably be shivering into our thermals within days. But, right now, it is lovely.
As is usually the case, I woke up today with twenty-one hundred things to do but when a nice day comes along it is important to seize it and make the most of it. So beyond writing this blog, my stuff to do list is on hold for a day.
My puppy, Willow, and I have been on a long walk across the fields near our home – blissful peace and quiet, rolling countryside bright with sunshine and the only sounds were the very distant whisper of traffic, the occasional dog bark and loudest of all beautiful birdsong.
Now back, a long afternoon and evening stretches ahead of us in which we will both spend time pottering in the garden which is a mass of spring colours. Later we will relax, either outdoors or on the comfy sofa in the sun lounge, me reading a good book, Willow, nearby having a snooze. ! daresay a glass of something chilled may also be consumed. By me not her!
Sometimes as life sweeps us along it’s all too easy to get lost in the day to day grind. We have so many things to tick off our stuff to do lists, so many obligations and commitments to honour and people to please we forget about making time for ourselves and for the people in our lives who really matter.
So next time you are working out your schedule for another busy week, remember to schedule some fun stuff too.
Take five minutes out with a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning when the house is quiet to count your blessings.
Factor in some fun time with the kids and the pets.
Book a date night with your partner.
Give your Mum and Dad a call or better yet a visit.
Don’t feel guilty about watching your favourite TV show while the ironing pile gets higher.
Meet your friends for a coffee and a chat.
Run a bubble bath, light some candles and switch off from the world for a while.
Buy some fresh flowers for your home or if money is tight take a walk in the park at lunch time – just being near beautiful things will lift your soul.
There is something about being faced by a large expanse of uninterrupted water that puts everything else into perspective, something calming about the way the muscle of the sea ripples back and forth.
A couple of weekends ago the sun was shining and sheltered from the wind Willow and I found a piece of leftover summer on a deserted beach. The sea was gentle that day, whispering back and forth across virgin sand and my puppy had her first paddle in the water. The sea wall was a sun trap on which to sit and while away time day dreaming, the sun casting a million jewels upon the water to dazzle our eyes.
The next weekend was very different. Stormy and cold with a raging wind, autumn had arrived with a vengeance. Willow and I loved it just the same. Confined to the promenade because the tide was so far in, it was exhilarating to be buffeted by the gusty wind. The onrushing waves were high and angry, battering the beach and sending foaming spray up on to the promenade to land at our feet. It was easy to lose myself in thought as I watched the peaks and troughs of the restless sea, the swells concealing hidden depths and dangers. It was a world away from the summer of the previous weekend.
Walking by the sea is good for our souls. Our problems seem to diminish in relation to the vastness of the water. It puts us back in touch with nature, the cycles of the seasons and the heartbeat of the world. It reminds us how small and inconsequential we are. And that is a good thing.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we are rapidly coming towards the end of summer. The nights are drawing in far too quickly, the mornings have a slight chill to them. The memories of the summer holidays are receding as the kids go back to school and the Halloween merchandise suddenly appears in the shops.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could keep those happy feelings of holiday freedom going to comfort us in the shorter, darker days ahead?
Whilst we cannot conjure up the summer sun and long days spent enjoying alfresco meals, we can try to prolong the essence of the holidays – the divergence from routine, the permission to be free of stress (if only for a short while), the time to enjoy being with family and friends or even rejoicing in a little solitude.
Those things are all still achievable once you are back at home. You just have to try a bit harder to make them happen. Schedule movie night for a Monday instead of at the weekends, let the Sunday lunch with family and friends extend into the afternoon and early evening as you would have done on holiday. Give yourself permission to leave your everyday worries behind for a set period of time – an evening, a day or a weekend and concentrate on the things that give you pleasure instead.
As the darker nights encroach allow yourself to go into holiday mode once the day job is done because the person we are on holiday is the same person we are at home the only thing that changes about us is our attitude.