What are you doing for YOU this weekend?
You will now be a fair way through what has probably been the strangest term ever... and if you are in Scotland, looking forward to a half term week filled with additional restrictions.
I’ve taken a photo of my October calendar, and I’m sure that everyone can produce a similar picture in any month from April! Tomorrow, 10th October is world mental health day, so in this blog I want to encourage anyone reading to forget about everyone else for a few minutes and focus on yourself. I’m constantly reading articles to find new nuggets of advice on the simple things we can all do feel more positive in these challenging times. So here are a few things that might resonate with you.
1.)It’s ok to feel a bit fed-up and sorry for yourself, mope around a bit if you need to, but just don’t wallow for too long.
2.)Try not to spend too much time and energy focusing on things that are completely out of your control e.g. all of the cancelled events and plans on your calendar!
3.)Spend time outside. Walk, run, cycle – whatever works for you. You might not feel like it, especially if it’s cold, wet, windy, or all three, but I can (almost) guarantee that you will feel much better after spending time outside.
Earlier this week I read a very interesting article by Alice Fleerackers that looked at the Dutch habit of spending time outside in windy, blustery weather. This pastime, known as “uitwaaien” translates as “outblowing”, with the idea being that the windy weather blows out the bad air and blows in good. In the blustery UK it is something that we can easily adopt. The psychological benefits of spending time outdoors are well-researched and documented. Even very short periods of time outside have been linked to reduced stress and depression, improved feelings of wellbeing, sense of identity and improved mood.
As a keen runner and dog owner, I spend a lot of time outside, but I must admit that my least favourite weather condition is when it’s too windy. Perhaps I need to be more open to the benefits of blustery weather instead of using it as an excuse to stay inside.
Now that autumn is gloriously upon us, it is a great time to appreciate the beauty of nature and contemplate change. Albert Camus described Autumn as a "second spring where every leaf is a flower", so get outside and enjoy our second spring.
Whatever you do this weekend, try to do something for yourself that you enjoy and makes you feel good.