I was reading this BBC magazine article on how a large sample of folks around the world felt about resting. The key to it was apparently being alone. To feel fully at rest your mind has to be relatively still. I had been thinking about this issue just recently primarily because in the pursuit of things I enjoy I always felt this tinge of anxiety. I live in Ludlow for goodness sake. Shropshire is a place of outstanding beauty and yet…
I couldn’t ever feel truly present when I tried to relax because I felt I couldn’t justify my time out if my house wasn’t clean or looked perfect; my bank balance akin to someone of independently wealthy means; my career sorted; my family and friend connections made; and on and on.
The BBC study showed that I wasn’t alone in this feeling. A strong minority of people equated the word ‘rest’ with ‘guilt’. When I began to examine my inability to do rest I recognised a few things, chief was growing up I don’t think I had ever seen a single adult in my West Indian family ever consciously do rest. My family were the busiest individuals I ever saw. My grandmother, who raised me from the time I was two years old until I was 12, only ever seem to relax in the evening when it was too dark to do anything and only ever with her bible.
I also realised that like my parents’ generation I was buying into the old-fashioned idea that I must work hard all my life, raise my child and only when I am much older and my knees have become terribly creaky am I allowed to truly enjoy myself at retirement. However, the government’s raised the retirement age and, frankly, given today’s economic backdrop, like every other Generation X’er an official retirement doesn’t seem to be on the cards.
When I moved from the City to the countryside I had an expectation that somehow I would downshift from that constant busy-ness I had while working in London. I wanted to spend more time in, with and learning about nature. That all of this space and country air would instantly be reflected in my mind as peace. It’s been close to three years and I’m only now beginning to understand how to enjoy my breaks and creative pursuits. To stop viewing ‘rest’ as a reward and more as a continuum of rejuvenation.
Guilt-free ways of enjoyment
1. Head outdoors no matter the weather and get comfortable being alone. If you have moved from the city to the countryside learn to motivate yourself to do things on your own.2. Take a creative course. I have been taking a sewing class for over a year. It’s a little extra money but I cut back in other areas and not only am I much more confident with my sewing machine and attempt projects on my own but I have also made great friends with my sewing buddies. It even led to my starting a wonderful upholstery course too but that’s another blog.
3. Garden time. If you have the luxury of one why do we spend more time making sure it’s maintained and so little time actually sitting in it? I bought a fire pit from ebay and I am determined that even when it’s cold my daughter and I will sit around it #Autumn #livingoutdoors #happy