JOYFUL GRATITUDE #188
On a recent walk, I was searching for some interesting details to photograph and was rewarded with a few simple snails, napping peacefully on a leaf of their choice. I love looking closely at their shells, admiring the texture and the elegance of the tight spiral. The lines on the snail below seem like they were hand-painted with ink.
In an effort to better understand how ecosystems work, lately I’ve been looking up the role of different animals within them. I am grateful for snails, who help with decomposition of organic matter and provide many of their prey with precious calcium.
In my explorations down the internet rabbit hole of snail facts, I also discovered there is such a thing as aestivation, which is like hibernation but for summer. When snails risk dessication because conditions are too hot or dry, they can go into aestivation to lower their metabolism until conditions improve. I like this concept, and think I may adopt it as a perfectly good justification for these warm summer days when all I have energy for is napping in the shade:)
I was initially excited at the idea of having lots of free time at home, I started thinking of everything I’d be able to do. However rather than writing that amazing short story and making an incredible amount of submissions, as well as learning how to draw, the days are just flying by. Nothing has come of all those plans and instead I’ve been working remotely by day, then on Skype calls with friends and family to attempt to make sense of a situation that none of us ever thought we would experience, and binge-watching episodes of Narcos to empty my mind in the evenings.
I’ve noticed lists circulating of things to fill the days with: crafts to do, films to watch, new skills to learn, and found myself stressing about not doing enough. I noticed that I have trouble concentrating and am actually spending a lot of energy adjusting to the situation, so now I’m trying to be more mindful of taking the pressure off and letting go of my unrealistic expectations.
I realise this list of tips only makes sense because I am in the privileged position where I can work from home and receive my salary and paid holidays… I am sharing it because it’s been a mind-shift for me over the past couple of weeks and I thought it may speak to others who might also feel the pressure to ‘be making the most of confinement’.
What has helped me the most has been to dial back the DOING and give myself permission to just BE a bit more.
- Digital detox: Sunday I didn’t connect to internet until my 7 pm skype call with my family. That morning I didn’t switch on my computer and refresh the news repeatedly and I left my phone out of sight. I had tasks on my to-do list I couldn’t take care of because they involved being online, so I let go of them for a while reminding myself they were not urgent. It felt very freeing. I want to try and do it one day a week.
- Sleeping / napping: now is the perfect time to rest – if not now then when? Going to bed earlier and sleeping a little longer in the mornings since I don’t need to commute is great. I’m glad to catch a few extra ZZZs to compensate for those nights where insomnia comes to visit with its thought-loops. Also naps are an act of resistance, it’s great to be an activist from the comfort of my own bed!
- Taking a day off work: I’d been saving my holidays for spring time to go see my family and explore Cornwall by train. But those plans are cancelled for the foreseeable future. I could try to power on through and save my days off to travel later, but the long winter months are behind me and there’s an on-going crisis going on, so right now taking a random day off feels like a gift to myself. I took today off and I think I’ll do it again in the next weeks when needed, to recharge when needed.
- Doing nothing: I’ve found peace in just sitting on the rug in that square of sunlight flowing through the window, day dreaming freely for a while and letting my thoughts roam…
I’d love to know what has helped you in the past weeks. Please feel free to share in the comments!
Just back from holidays. The kind of holidays that are basically just sleeping in, reading, eating good food, taking naps without setting an alarm clock. The kind of holidays that I actually come home rested and recharged from, having watched the tide come in high and retreat over hundreds of meters, having spent fun moments with my family, having breathed in the salty air of the sea, having been cleansed by strong winds whipping fine sand onto my calves, having strolled slowly back and forth along the shoreline my bare feet sinking into the wet sand, processing my thoughts and searching for colourful seashells…
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #110
I am deeply grateful for these quiet days spent with my close family around delicious meals and many wonderful desserts, easy moments of catching up together after months of only talking on the phone, of laughing and being ourselves with our different characters and interests.
This week we also took the time to discover some poetic films that got us thinking, to get warm in the sauna whilst chatting about the world we live in and how we can change it, to exchange (experience) gifts, to go for a mini road-trip to a pittoresque village close by, to share our plans for 2019 and of course to take activist naps and recharge our batteries…
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #89
I am extremely grateful for the calm summer days where there is enough time to walk aimlessly along a wide empty beach as the tide goes out, to watch clouds moving through the sky and find improbable shapes (do you see the seahorse??!), to spot footprints in the sand that must belong to tiny animals and imagine them running up and down the dunes when no one is watching, to read for a few hours uninterrupted and indulge in blissful naps while the sun is high, to feel the cool breeze as you stroll through a local village at the magic hour…
When I found out that I am an introvert (I think I was about 30), it was a real a-ha moment. I had so often wondered how other people managed to spend so much time in groups or hanging out with other people, when after a couple of hours of socialising the only thing I felt like was heading home to chill alone with a good book. I often felt like there was something wrong with me.
Basically being an introvert simply means that spending time with other people drains your energy, and spending time alone allows you to recharge your energy. It was such a relief to find out that I’m not flawed. Knowing that I am an introvert has helped me to just be myself, and also I’ve become much more conscious of protecting my downtime by myself so that I recharge and save my energy. The best comparison I read is that as an introvert you are like a computer battery, you have a certain amount of capacity to interact with others, but once it is empty you can’t be social again until you recharge.
It’s definitely a learning curve as I spent most of my life feeling like I constantly ‘should’ want to be more social. Nowadays I can recognise my physical need to relax in order to process a busy day at the office or a social weekend with friends. I am practising saying NO a lot more to invitations (a part of me often wants to go but if I feel another part of me pulling back and thinking ‘this is too much, I actually just want to chill’, I do my best to listen to that voice). I try not to make too many social plans, especially when I’m using a lot of energy at work. But I do actively plan time alone to recharge (going for walks, naps, journalling, reading or daydreaming:)
A wonderful book I would recommend (for both introverts and those around them) is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She writes really well on the common misunderstandings about introverts, how the world should pay more attention to them and how to carve space for yourself in our world as an introvert.