It's not often I get to sit in total peace and tranquility, in a wood fired hot tub next to a private riverside, in the middle of an ancient forest all by myself. In fact, it's something I've never done before!
It's so peaceful. I can hear the birds singing a chorus, the crackle of the fire and the hiss of the rain as it hits the chimney. I can feel the cool rain as it falls onto my hair and face, the droplets on the water creating circles that ripple out on the surface. I look upwards and see the canopy of tall trees all around me swaying gently in the wind. I sink deeper into the water, engulfed by the warmth, steam rising all around me. I take a few deep breaths and settle in. I'm feeling completely calm, content, at ease and at one with nature. I'm completely in the moment, noticing the sensations and everything around me. This is mindfulness at its finest. This is joy at its finest.
This moment is made even sweeter because it's been a busy day on holiday with my two beautiful, boisterous, noisy and at times challenging young children. I live for these moments alone. The children aren't far away, in the holiday cottage we're staying in, being tucked into bed my my husband Rob. We'll swap over later so he can enjoy his own moment of solitude. But for me, this moment is absolutely perfect and I'm feeling so grateful for it. Here and now is all that is.
Actively finding these moment of peace and joy in my days is what fills me up, energises me and makes me feel alive. I used to hate being alone and I never sat still, always busy and onto the next thing. As I've got older and the kids have come along I've become very fond of being alone and solitude. It's how I recharge my batteries. It helps me relax, rest, stay grounded and find peace and clarity. It also helps me connect with myself and my inner knowing, which makes me stronger, more resilient and confident as I know myself and my needs so well.
Signs you need to slow down
Whenever I’m feeling low, I lose the ability to find joy in my day, it’s one of my tell tale signs that I need to slow down, prioritise myself and take more care. It took me a while to realise this, my mental health dipped and I experienced burnout. Now I pay close attention to my ability to find joy. Spending time on my own, preferably in nature helps me strip away the noise, the distractions, the endless to-do list, the need to do things because I feel like I "should", or because I'm operating unconsciously. It gives me chance to step back and tune into what really matters for me and my kids and husband. In turn this means I go about my day, make decisions and spend my time on what's important.
I also get my best, creative ideas when I'm alone in nature, which as a business owner and wellness professional helps me show up better for my clients and followers.
Joy in the Ordinary
More often than not it's really small things throughout my day that I try to notice and find the joy in. Every day I find magic moments of extraordinary in the "ordinary". A nice cup of tea, the sniff of my my favourite candle or essential oil, studying a flower, the moments the kids are playing nicely. Let's face it, I'm a working mum and my babies are young and need a lot of time, care and attention from me. Sometimes it's a challenge to even fit in 60 seconds of mindfulness/self care, occasionally I don't manage it at all. And very rarely I manage a longer amount of time and I'm treated to something really indulgent like my woodland hot tub experience, or the morning off I gave to myself a few weeks ago where I took myself off on a solo hike.
You see, when I feel good, those around me feel good. So I will always find time for myself, and I'll always look for those moments of joy as I go about my day. It's essential. It makes me a better person, and more importantly a better mum. The more I find time for myself, the more I put myself first, the more I allow myself to be completely and utterly me, the better it is for everyone around me.
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