So today is world mental health day, a day when hopefully many of you are having conversations about mental health and what this means to you. I have just returned from a trip away. A trip that I went on without my family, to visit some friends overseas. It was some much needed time out. For the past few years I have been working several jobs, birthing and bringing up two small children, studying for a doctorate & running the household. Prioritising myself had fallen to the bottom of the list, perhaps even off it. I was burnt out. Having some time to myself to just be, with no demands on my time, no endless to do lists to complete, no worrying about everyone else, was invaluable (although I did ensure I sorted everyone out before I left). I have come back with a renewed enthusiasm for life, and the mental capacity to really focus on the important things.
I realise that this is a luxury - to be able to have the time out that I did. But perhaps this is something we can all learn from. Taking time out for just ourselves is so important, be it for 5 minutes of 5 days. When our inner container is running over, looking after our wellbeing can allow us to empty it of pressures, so we have space for empathy, love and compassion. Without self-care, how can we truly give energy to the world around us?
So if you are feeling under pressure, try to step outside of your world, if even just for a few minutes. Go for a walk - feel the grass between your toes, or the wind rustling in the trees. Listen to the birds, watch the rolling waves, stare at the clouds. Just be, breathe, and allow yourself time without feeling guilty for it. Easier said than done I know, but the more we practice self-care, the more we can look after our mental health.