As I'm writing this I'm sitting in my little courtyard garden with my laptop on my lap. Its a warm autumn day, and I've swept the garden after brushing the dogs (always endless dog hair everywhere), hoovered the house, washed up after brunch, and hung the fresh smelling laundry out to dry. Its one of those days where I feel peaceful and happy and under no pressure to do anything and be anything. My face is clean of make up and my feet are bare. I'm drinking sparkling water from an old pub pint glass. There's a soft and warm breeze, and my husband is still in bed catching up on sleep after a busy week. As I write to you I can hear the soft sounds of the village on a warm and sleepy Sunday: dogs barking, kids playing, cars up and down the lanes, a lawnmower, a distant aeroplane.
This is the kind of day I love. There is no pressure to see anyone, to do anything in particular or please anyone. I can simply be myself and allow myself to do what I want when I want.
The other day a friend of mine said to me "No-one will ever have written on their tombstone " Her house was always clean, and she always did the washing up.""
How often do you give yourself time to just "be"?
How often do you say to yourself, "Do you know what, that can wait until another day."?
It hasn't and isn't always this way for me. Like anything and everything its an ongoing practice. I am someone who's mind can be very busy and I can easily get overwhelmed. Endless to-do lists can stack up in my head, and then I tumble down this rabbit hole of seeing everything that needs doing at once. The front garden that needs endlessly weeding, the peeling paint on the windows. The storage cupboard that is rammed full of stuff and needs sorting out, the fridge and oven that need cleaning. And this is just domestic stuff, let alone the admin, spreadsheets, lesson plans and assignments for both my businesses and my job that need doing.
Once I tumble down this rabbit hole it can be hard to claw back out.
I was listening to my favourite podcast a year or so ago and she asked the question: "How can you let yourself of the hook today?"
Just one thing. How can you give yourself a break from all the to-doings that we do, and just let the day be easier?"
This was so simple and yet a revelation to me. To allow yourself the choice and take off that pressure and say, "do you know what, that thing, it can really wait until another day." After all, no one is sat here telling me I had to do all these things. Yes sure, there are certain things that if not done will have consequences, but the world will not end if I don't paint the front fence today.
Today I invite you to give yourself a break. Even if its Monday and you have eight million emails in your inbox at work and back to back meetings. How can you let yourself off the hook a bit and give yourself a break?
Maybe its by not going to Tesco's after work and by ordering take away just for tonight. Maybe its by taking a hot, salty bath and going to bed early. Maybe its by saying no to a friend and just sitting on the sofa and watching Netflix, or asking your partner to watch the kids while you go to a yoga class. Whatever it may be, take something off the list and allow yourself some more space to breathe and be.
Of course the key to this is then not allowing any guilt to seep in.
Whatever and however you let yourself off the hook, remember that you're doing yourself a favour, that you're giving yourself space to BREATHE, and we ALL need to breathe to survive. If you don't you could easily be tumbling down that rabbit hole of stress and anxiety and if you're not careful, falling into full on burn-out. Space to breathe is self care and we must all care for ourselves first BEFORE we can even think about caring for anyone else.
Now I've finished my pint (of water) and in a minute I might stroll to the kitchen and get some more, or I might not. I might just sit here in the peace and calm of the afternoon and breathe it all in, each and every golden moment at a time, knowing that this moment, is all we ever truly have.
l'd love to hear how you let yourself off the hook today, no matter how simple it may be. Reply to this email or comment o the blog, and tell me how you're giving yourself space to breathe.