Photography: Corinne Cumming
Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Never.
We don’t heal easily, we heal, we’re capable to – all parts of us, bones, skin, nails, hair – but it takes time. We’re always happy to give our skin the time it needs to heal after a wound, but not as kind to our mind when we need time to be. I’ve been a bit unkind to myself recently, pushing myself to feel like I need to get on with things or basically ‘just getting on with it’. But it’s never that simple. When you hurt your skin you take time out, you can’t just go applying pressure to an area that’s an open wound. We’re taught that from a young age, and we sit it out on the sidelines. But we’re never really taught the same about our minds. Just get on with it, just go back to work, why don’t you keep yourself busy – we’re told. But we have to take time out for ourselves, and this week i’ve done just that.
Of course we have to work, but it’s the balance that helps us.
I wouldn’t suggest taking too much time out of actual work, out of the office, but your time around that can be used effectively and without feeling guilty. That’s how i’ve managed to help myself out of it a bit this week, and i’ve missed some social gatherings this weekend, but i’ve taken time for myself and I had to. Your friends will understand that, and you must never feel the pressure to go out all the time when you don’t always feel in the right headspace. I wanted to go out last night, but I really wasn’t in the right headspace, and for that i’m glad I didn’t. Instead i’ve been taking time to work out, watch movies, read, I even took out an afternoon to walk some dogs with my friend Corinne, where we snapped these photos in Regents Park.
I find that weather really helps.
It’s such a rubbish thing to have to rely on for happiness due to it’s interchangeable and spontaneous nature, but as soon as that sun comes out, getting out into it and breathing in the fresh air will do you the world of good. I’d like to think that in the UK the sunny days are ahead and the cold snap is behind us now, but it’s never really certain. What I do know is that whenever i’m outside, around animals, nature, good people – I feel better. You know you’ve got that one friend you can call that will just walk around the park with you, you don’t even need to have the most deep, meaningful or intense conversations, but just time out from everything you’re worrying about. That’s just one way to help yourself feel better, and even if you work in an office, there will be an outside area you can take your lunch to. For me when I was in the office taking my lunch outside was my sanity, it was my saviour and my light in the days when I felt stressed, anxious and worried. Just that little bit of clarity in the pure surroundings of Earth – even if it was just a car park for gods sake – can really help you shift thoughts into a more positive space. I’m hoping we’re gonna have a lot more of these days in the coming months.
Talk to someone you’ve never met before.
I literally did this last night, and the person in question inspired and shook me awake into a much more positive mindset. Some people do just radiate sunshine out of their faces and their voice, and by stepping into a new surrounding and just chatting to someone new, it can shift your entire day. I’ve done this before with the postman, the guy at the clothes store, someone I was sat next to on a train, a business man George and I sat with in New York at a bar top, anything. By exposing yourself and allowing yourself to be open and warm to new people, you get a little window into life for others, and how the world really does continue to revolve every single day outside of our own personal bubble. I find even just a ten minute chatter with someone friendly and kind about their day can totally set me up for a more positive mindset when I then get home. Which is one of the reasons why I can grow to hate London, as people can be a little cold and uninviting at the best of times. Ignore people who are judgemental, and shine through as yourself. You’ll find people will be open to chatting.
Allow yourself those moments of worry and sadness.
I find they often hit when i’m trying to fall asleep, ugh. There we are, drifting off, and oh hello self loathing and excruciating worry. It’s often frustrating to get through when you are lying in bed like that, but i’ve struggled with this most of my life – even dating back to when I was a little kid I remember crying at night because I was worried about the smallest thing. It’s tough to get through it in the moment, but what i’ve taught myself to do is to allow myself to go through the worries, then I breathe calmly, and mentally tick them off in my head. I do this for as long as it takes until the moment is gone and I can drift off to sleep.
Sometimes you’re just at home or your friends are out and you’re not and you feel this way. I would always beat myself up for this, thinking that staying at home and not going out was only making it worse, and it wasn’t at all, but in my head it felt like it was. It’s perfectly fine to shut away from your phone and curl up into a duvet burrito every now and then when you need to, you must let yourself experience these moments to help you get out of them stronger the other side. Never apologise or feel guilty for that. I’ve really healed some of my mental wounds this week by allowing myself that time, and I know i’ll see my friends out next weekend.
I know it was a bit of a burble mixed with some of my genuine thoughts and hopefully a bit of advice, but i’m sure now is as better time as any – being Sunday n all – to take some time for yourself, and to remember not to feel sad or guilty for doing so. I’ve gotten far too good at that over the years and i’m teaching myself how to stop, and get better.
Little bits of positivity in each day can really help you out of even the darkest clouds, and I know they’re always there to find. I’m grateful and thankful to myself for allowing myself those moments of alone time this week and weekend, and I know it’ll help me out in the long run. Let me know in the comments what you do for your moment of clarity, and how important it is to you. I’m sure those reading would love to know. For me I stick on a movie, either an old classic I know off by heart, or a new one i’m yet to fall for that captivates me. Sundays are the new me time and there’s no time like the present.