Don’t we all need something like this on a Sunday evening, before a fresh week of work begins? I know I do. Peace.
Don’t we all need something like this on a Sunday evening, before a fresh week of work begins? I know I do. Peace.
Sometimes we need to relax, need a bit of a ‘pick me up’ but can’t really afford the time or money to go for a pamper or spa day somewhere.
That’s not to say that you can’t create your own relaxing spa experience at home. Some people set aside whole days for this, but if you want something quick, simple and relaxing, then all you need is a bowl or basin suitable for putting both your feet in at the same time, and being able to hold hot water, some towels, moisturiser and a bath fizzer or shower gel, with your favourite scents, and maybe a pumice stone if you want to use one. Check the temperature of the water is just right for you, put your feet in, add your fragrance, then just sit back and relax. I did this evening, and I now I have soft and happy feet. Simple! 🙂
At the end of a personal retreat, it’s important to feel rested and refreshed and ready for what lies ahead. However, the reality of that isn’t always the case, so I’m hoping that it works out for me by the close of today, as it’s onwards to ‘normal life’ at work in the office, tomorrow. Thankfully just a two day ‘work week’ (although I have been working hard on my novel at home).
The approach I’ve taken over the past couple of days has turned out to be very productive for me. By 11.30am I was able to put away my novel writing for another day, note down a few ideas to research, explore and take forwards in between now and my next focussed writing session, save my work, tally up a total word count over the two ‘and a bit’ days to 6,369 words, back up my files and give thanks for a productive time.
Retreats and ‘Couch potato syndrome’:
It can be hard to shift gears back into the ‘real world’ after a personal retreat. It’s therefore important to smooth out that transition as best as we can rather than expecting to be bright eyed and busy tailed and ready to go the next morning.
Ahead of me ‘looms’ piles of unwashed dishes, a messy bedroom and other ‘to do’ type things. It’s only mid afternoon, but I don’t want to end my retreat feeling rushed, busy or distracted. I don’t want to end the retreat tidying up, I’d much rather ease into the evening in a tidy environment, a soothing atmosphere and have the time, space, opportunity and mental focus to reflect upon what I’ve learned, what I want to take forward, and to do some calming activities (such as playing my violin, doing some adult colouring in, working on my photography, reading, decorating my ‘planner’, being calmly prepared for work, praying, and generally feeling accomplished, relaxed, refreshed and rested, rather than anxious).
The big however, is that for the past couple of days I’ve been all but a complete couch potato. I went out for a short walk on Saturday afternoon after I had accomplished my writing goals, but yesterday I didn’t even get ready, and stayed in all day, sitting on my couch and typing on my laptop, interspersed with eating food of various sorts, and drinking cups of tea!
Today therefore, although feeling like I have made progress creatively, physically I am experiencing a bit of couch potato syndrome. To overcome that I set aside a bit of time for the next ‘segment’ of my personal retreat, to help me to shift gears and actually get up, move about, and do things so that I can hopefully relax and do some light creative activities in the evening. I started to do some light exercise, using one of my usual You Tube exercise video series. However, even doing what is generally quite easy for me, was a bit of a challenge for me – I suppose my legs feel a bit ‘floppy’ after couch sitting for two days, and my mind is ‘in between’ creative space and physical action at the moment. We don’t always consider this dynamic when thinking about retreats, that there is a shifting of gears and adjustment required on the concluding day. Definitely don’t expect to do hours upon hours of focused work on your last day of retreat, and to feel prepared and refreshed afterwards. Get your best work done earlier on when you can more fully dwell in that creative space, and consider less to be more for the last stretch of retreat time.
Another thing to consider is if you are a deeply creative person, it can be difficult to suddenly expect to go from one mode of thinking and being to another. For example, after spending hours writing my novel, if I had to suddenly switch straight back into work mode, that would be difficult for me – I would miss the experience, discovery and engagement of writing too much – which is why it is helpful to have other avenues such as writing my blog that mean it isn’t such a sharp mental, emotional and creative contrast, as I will still be able to express the creative part of me on a regular basis, even when there is no focussed retreat time.
So back to easing out of the world inside our heads and computers, to the world around us. Leave a bit of time and space for you to do this on your retreat. Have an afternoon of gentle exercise, stretching, if unlike me you are dressed and ready for the outside world you could go for a walk somewhere peaceful, and maybe do your tidying in short segments of time while focusing on being present, noticing things creatively, or listening to something inspiring while you work – don’t fully reconnect with the outside world yet, especially online, this is still your time, and headspace, enjoy it, savour it, even as you gently shift gears.
Even when slowing down within the creative process, it can be that we find that we feel rushed within certain areas of ourselves inwardly. Part of the process of creativity is deep connection, and therefore we need to be aware that there can sometimes be a disconnect even when we slow down to write.
I have been experiencing the calm of engaging creatively with my writing. And yet, I sense an inward restlessness, and so I am going to pause and take a break away from writing my book to exercise my sense of connection.
It is quite simple, and is helpful for managing anxiety as well. Slow down, turn off distractions, and concentrate on your five senses, one at a time.
Observe, notice, experience, feel, the following, if you are able:
Don’t rush through it. Don’t think of what you want to or ‘should be’ creating. If you like, play some gentle instrumental music quietly in the background to help you compose your breathing and concentration. Focus on your experience and enjoying being present in it. We can’t create the similitude of an experience well, if we haven’t first learned to live it….in and for itself.
I’m trying to get back into adult colouring in again, as I have only really been able to do a little bit here and there, so here is a picture I started and finished this morning – which is the first one I have completed in a while. This is from the lovely colouring book, ‘Nature’s Beauty’, with the original black and white picture shown in the insert below. I hope it brightens up your day a little 🙂 x
There are some phrases or proverbs that creep into common usage, that on the surface seem fairly self-explanatory, but given a bit of thought require a little more reflection to fully understand.
To me, “A change is as good as a rest” is one such phrase. A cursory review would suggest that a change that brings about positive effects or consequences is as beneficial to one’s wellbeing, as some good old refreshing ‘time out’. Some variations of the phrase state that “A change is as good as a holiday”, suggesting that the ‘change’ in question is not as significant as leaving one’s usual surroundings but that the change can be simpler, and yet have similar benefits to ‘getting away from it all’. Conversely, some interpret the change itself in the original phrase to be just such an escape or adventure away from the everyday routines and norms of one’s life.
But what does this mean in terms of life at home? *Your life* at home. As you can guess, this post is the latest instalment in my ‘Home & Lifestyle’ series, where I am exploring decluttering and reorganising in particular, and charting my progress along the way, in the hopes to both keep myself motivated, but also to hopefully encourage and inspire some of you if you are undertaking similar projects.
So if you would like to recap on the journey so far, please dip into my previous posts, or click on the ‘Home & Lifestyle’ tab in my main menu to catch up on what you may have missed.
Let me start with reminding you of my ‘before and after’ pictures of my bedroom. Well, it’s more accurate to say ‘during and after’ pics, as the first picture reveals the results of me having pulled everything out in order to sort through it all and declutter and reorganise.
Now that you’ve reminded yourself of those pics, or have taken a look at that post, here are another few pictures for you to peruse while keeping in mind our initial discussion on change and rest:
Sometimes we get so overwhelmed if we have let our living conditions get a little ‘out of control’, such that we easily give up on the projects we once started in the hope of making a change in our lives. I know that at points I have felt overwhelmed, and have sometimes lapsed into simply managing and moving about the clutter and disarray rather than once and for all getting to the bottom of it. But this time, I mean business. And I am putting in the hard graft to really get to the bottom of it, even if it takes a bit of time.
What I mean by this is going through everything – yes, *everything* I have, from the biggest piece of furniture to the bits of paper and paperclips randomly discarded in what has become the ‘junk room’ of my home, and sort through everything I have and either dispose of the item or store it responsibly.
In order to succeed in creating a system, it is important to first take stock of what you have, get rid of what you don’t need (recycle, donate, and / or bin), categorise what you are keeping, and make one specific place for each ‘type’ of item.
These small yet cumulative changes are as good as, but more likely far better than a rest, or a getting away from your life. Why? Because creating order, a calm environment and knowing where each item or at least each ‘type’ of item in your home is all adds up in the long run to ultimately add to your peace of mind, health, wellbeing and sense of calm.
I began implementing such changes little at a time a while ago. Simple things. Like having one specific place to hang my keys meant that this has reduced the anxiety and panic of not being able to find them in the morning before I’m leaving for work, or whenever I need to go out anywhere. Having an orderly environment gives me more time to rest, and focus on the things I enjoy rather than all the things I need to get done, have lost track of, or am getting overwhelmed by.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, by your current surroundings, or by this post, then know that these little changes all add up. I am still very much in the midst of the process of decluttering and reorganising my home, and although there is a long way to go, I am more than half way there, and feeling the benefits already. I am more relaxed and I enjoy being here. I don’t get so stressed about finding things because I know where things are. And I seldom lose my keys anymore when such a little thing could be such a great source of stress previously.
So when you make these changes for yourself at home, know that these changes *are* as good as a rest – as they add up you will have more time to rest….at home, and enjoy the wellbeing of being somewhere that you have made gradual changes to, to be somewhere that you love to be.
*Pause for Thought*: What are the changes you are making in order to make your everyday life a little more restful? Would love to hear from you, so please feel free to share in the comments below! 🙂