What a weekend I had last weekend! I actually never stopped! Yet, I woke up on Monday morning morning feeling refreshed and excited about how much I was going to get done! Why’s this! Why was I not shattered and daunted by the week ahead!
Well, for all it was busy, the weekend was choc full of things, all of which I consider as self care. There’s a meme kicking about that I see that says something like, “self care is not about chocolates and pamper days, it’s about creating a life that you don’t want to escape from”. This weekend has been awesome and tiring both at the same time – and I didn’t want to escape from it! Let me tell you about it.
It started Friday tea time with a 14 mile bike ride home from work. I just took my time, I wanted to be home, but I also wanted to delight in the scenery around me. So, I took a detour down to a little place off my route called Cox Green and I just spent a few moments there looking at the river and the beautiful vista. I then continued my way home. For me, exercise is mindfulness in motion. You can think of all sorts of things if you want to while you exercise. It’s just you. On your own thinking things through and mulling things over. Or it can be you thinking of nothing. Just you and your body doing this thing to the exclusion of everything else. I love the loneliness of a solo run or bike ride. Some quality time with yourself.
Self Care checklist: Alone time, you time, exercise, getting outdoors tick!
Saturday started with Parkrun, starting at Durham’s Maiden Castle and ending by the River Wear in the shadow of the glorious Cathedral. We’ve got quite a little team going on now for Parkrun and we’ve pretty much ran it every weekend this year. So my eldest son Jonathan picks me up and, in the car are usually the Whellan’s brothers and Oliver’s girlfriend Sarah (although she didn’t make it this week). The run and the scenery is great and is an absolute delight. Parkrun is 5k which is doable and not too tough. But for me the most important part of this is the camaraderie of the whole thing. We are all at different levels of fitness but all in it together. The banter in the car on the way there and on the way home is great. And it’s wonderful that these young pups tolerate this old guy tagging along!
The Sunday saw me running again with two of my colleagues from work. We were doing the Sunderland 10k. It was an absolute delight. A huge group of people all with one endeavour in mind. To test themselves against the distance in front of them! There was a great atmosphere as the gun went off and we started and it continued all the way around and into the finish funnel!
Then, in the afternoon, tired and weary I had a gig to play. I’m a musician in between other things (!) and I was playing in the Union Rooms, a lovely bar near Central Station in Newcastle. Music is a gift to us all. I love playing on my own at home or in front of people in a bar. Music lifts the soul. Or ‘resets’ it, as I like to say. And it creates a wonderful connection between people. It was great to watch people chatting and enjoying themselves as I played, and from time to time joining in singing along to the tunes they recognised.
There’s a Stoic ‘saying’ that ‘the obstacle is the way’. When confronted with an obstacle don’t avoid it – go through it! Because it’s in doing so that we grow and develop. My tiring weekend left me re-energised because of how the things I did contributed to who I am – my idea of ‘self’ – and therefore to my self care. Connections made, existing connections enjoyed, exercise engaged in, getting outdoors, the healing properties of music – food for the soul – all meant that the busy weekend was a refreshing weekend.
The obstacle really is the way