Here we are, just over 2 months away from Christmas. Where has the year gone? As many people begin to gear down, looking forward to closing up businesses, taking a break from the school run and getting away, the hospitality and retail sectors gear up for what is hopefully a bumper season. “The Milk and Honey Season” one retailer told me. The weather has been, well, odd. We have veered from scorching temperatures well into the high thirties, to digging out the jumpers and lighting the up the fires again as we plummet to 13,12,10 degrees for a day and the weather plays havoc with planner summer events. If you spend too much time on social media, or scrolling through news pages, you begin to feel the world has gone a tad crazy. OK, a lot crazy.
It’s easy to put yourself last as the “silly season” approaches. So many things on the to-do list, social and school commitments, holding the space for anxious children as they negotiate exam time with stress levels out the window. Worrying about the state of the country and the world. Somehow you keep on keeping on, ignoring the warning signs your body is sending out (you will know exactly what they are) that it might be a good idea just to slow down a bit. We refuse to reach out and ask for help, not wanting to seem weak, or vulnerable. We internalize stress and worry, which is one of the most dangerous things we can do to ourselves.
This is a gentle reminder that we all have a “fuel tank” of energy and it is not the function of this fuel tank to feed others from it. You feed others from the overflow. That main tank is purely for you and your well-being. It won’t stay filled up if you keep taking from it for others. Eventually it will be depleted.
Small town living is not necessarily less stressful than anywhere else but you can choose differently. Visit one of the many coffee shops, watch the world go by as you sip a cup of tea or coffee and relish a piece of cake. Admire the wealth of beautiful flowering trees we have. Some of the streets in and around White River are a riot of colour right now and breathtakingly beautiful. Let your eyes simply soak up the colour. Pause and watch monkeys play, or gymnogenes and long crested eagles perched on telephone wires in town. When was the last time you visited a nursery and simply wandered among the plants, listening to the gentle sounds of bubbling water features? Inhaled deeply after the first rains have settled the dust of the winter months and delight in the wonderful fresh smell of wet earth, known as petrichor? Have you really listened to how the birds sing in delight after the rain? How gardens come alive with insect and frog choruses? Take a break from social media, switch your phone off for a few hours (I promise you the world will not grind to a halt), regain your centre and your sanity.
Keep the balance in these last couple of months of 2018. Make time to put yourself first. You will be surprised at what just 5, 10 or 15 minutes can do to help you regain a sense of equilibrium.
Your body and mind will thank you for it.
By Di Atherton