To be honest I couldn’t think of a title for today’s blog as it covers a whole variety of things this time around.
I’ve been on a bit of a good run lately with my mental health and have been enjoying the relative ‘freedom’ it has allowed me lately. I’ve felt stable in the mornings when I get up and have been extending the creative side of my brain (I do have one…honest) by writing what I think could be called poetry but I’m just going to call it ‘words on lines’. Work has been going well (most of the time) and I have had some days where I have come away feeling like I’ve done a good job.
I have also involved myself in a new hobby (to go alongside my artwork) of rock painting. These rocks have then been hidden somewhere in town on my way to work for someone to find. My hope is that when it has been found by someone it makes that person smile and just enjoy their day a little bit more. The ‘finder’ then can keep it or re-hide the stone again, it’s entirely up to them. There’s nothing else to it, it’s all about spreading a little kindness around.
Now, this isn’t to say I haven’t had some hard days in among all of this but I have now realised I am a bit more equipped to deal with these a little better.
This last week has seen some rather autumnal weather appear on the small island and when that happens it can only mean one thing. All the holidaymakers don’t really know what to do anymore as there isn’t much to do under cover here. Instead of staying in a nice dry hotel, caravan or tent everyone decides to leave the comfort of a dry room and head out in the rain to the big city (it’s not really a city, just a slightly big town). This then makes for grumpy families as kids get bored quickly and the parents are ready to pack it in and go home.
I have had a few days where little things have constantly irritated me and I have had to deal with confrontation (something I’m not good at) after which I have become rather angry at myself for reacting negatively to situations out of my control. At one point this week I almost walked out of my work area as I was letting myself get stressed by the actions of people we were trying to help. My work colleagues are all amazing and they all seemed to notice I was ‘out of sorts’ before I even did and were asking how I was doing at times throughout the busier periods. When it was my turn to escape I took myself upstairs for my lunch and sat in the TV room. Fortunately it was empty so I got my iPad out and put on Spotify (other music streaming apps are available 😉 ). My playlist of choice was a soothing piano list which is a world away from what I usually listen to but it was enough to slow my thought process down and calm me. I also sat and wrote a poem, posted it to my Facebook and thus pushed the thoughts out of my brain so that by the time I went back downstairs to work I was in a slightly better place than when I left.
This made me realise that paying a little more attention to myself and that I should look after me first. I always say to others to take care of themselves, say ‘no’ to things they are unable to do and do things just for themselves every now and then but I am terrible at following my own advice. I even read a lot blogs from some lovely WordPress friends about the benefit of self-care but in my own life I have let this side slip away gradually and it has begun to show in how I am feeling about myself.
Well this weekend I made a bit of a change.
My wife and daughter have spent the weekend camping with the Girl Guides so it has meant I have been home alone since Friday evening. I didn’t sleep very well that night as it was too quiet in the house and I kept hearing every single sound and trying to work out what it could be. Normally I drift off to sleep to the gentle hum of my wife’s CPAP machine (it helps her sleep apnea and allows her to breather better) but without it in the background it was strangely unnerving.
Anyway, fast forward to Saturday morning. I was awake early so I put on the washing machine and had some breakfast. The weather was to be good so I decided to use that to my advantage. I planned a day out to the western end of the island where I would walk over the chalk downs and take lots of photos (I even remembered to charge my camera batteries….yay me!).
The bus ride there was, thankfully, uneventful and the walk was beautiful. I then got the bus back to the nearest town and got a coffee in a wonderful coffee house. There may have been a bit of cake too, just for replenishing my energy of course. From there I then decided I would walk along the old railway line to the ferry port. I happened to bump in to my lovely friend Kerry (owner of the wonderful Cupcakes and Anxiety blog page) and had a lovely catch up with her and her son, before heading to the beach to have a bit of lunch.
From there I then headed over to the other side of the island to where the hordes of scooters had descended for the annual Bank Holiday scooter rally. Hundreds of amazing Vespa and Lambretta scooters in various colourways were lined along the street and the seafront and it was an incredible sight. I took more photos, stared in awe at some of the amazing decor on the bikes and watched some of them darting along the esplanade before heading off to somewhere else.
That somewhere else was back to the coast where I managed to get a few shots of the ‘pre-sunset’ sky and a passing tall ship before heading home for some much-needed rest. But not before I found a painted rock that someone had hidden in a flower bed along the sea front (cue a big smile on my tired face).
Which leads me to the moral of my tale (in a kind of teen american movie way).
If you ever doubt yourself or are beginning to struggle, just listen to yourself and take your own advice. If it was a friend in a similar situation, you would advise them accordingly so why do we find it so hard to advise ourselves?
I’m going to try to be a little more forgiving on myself and try and listen a bit harder to what I am saying to myself.
To yourself and each other.
It sounds so easy doesn’t it?