Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Change is as good as a Rest by Anne Booth

This is not an easy time to keep mentally and emotionally and physically well.  The world news is very worrying, and it is easy to feel powerless or depressed. The weather can be cold and although the days are getting longer, it is often dark and wet outside.

I am aware that my health needs care. Physically I need to sleep and eat properly and take exercise. Mentally and emotionally I need to be stimulated without being anxious or depressed. 

I'm not a sporty person, nor at home in gyms, but I'm really lucky, because I live in a place where I can easily take these individuals for lovely  walks - and somehow the weather is never as bad when you are out in it as when you are reluctantly preparing to leave the house.

Here is Ben in a delighted blur! Timmy looks very happy. It's hard not to feel cheered by such enthusiasm.

Watching Timmy, our 11 year old retriever, delight in a walk is such a gift and a good reminder for me to live in the moment and stop worrying about the future so much:

We also need to feel loved and to give love. Writing can be very isolating and it can be easy to sit alone and fret and worry and imagine all sorts of dire scenarios and feel self confidence slipping away. Meditation is good, and prayer, but sometimes that feels hard to do.  Ben, our spaniel, is very up for walks but also for being cuddled by any member of our family who would like to, (here is a picture of a teenager getting pre-exam therapy!) and I recommend every writer working alone at home  to have someone like Ben as an assistant! Cats can also be great - and if you can't have an animal - have a teddy!

My resolutions for 2017 include cycling (my birthday is in February and I am asking for a bike!) I  want to cycle to yoga and or pilates classes, as I know that sitting typing for hours isn't good for the posture or muscles, and exercise is good for the spirit as well as the body.

I love Music and want to listen to it more. I think I would like to find a dance class, and I want to continue piano lessons - I won some in a raffle and the teacher is so good I want to ask him if I can have regular lessons. I haven't been very good at practicing - but I mean to improve and make the most of the opportunity. I know that this will cost money, and money is often a worry for a writer, but I am going to try to budget for at least some of these ideas in order to keep healthy this year. And singing costs nothing -and I want to sing more too!

Lastly - I want to do more Art. I spent yesterday morning back at Life Drawing class - and that was wonderful. It was great, as a writer, to do something where I wasn't using words, where I was looking carefully and making marks and noticing tones, where my mind was clear of worries because just trying to really see what was in front of me was fully occupying my attention.

It was also good to be away from home. Writing at home can be something people yearn for when they can't do it, but when you work and live in the same space all the time and spend long hours alone, you can slide into depression without realising it. 

I feel much better now that I have changed my routine, caught the bus and done something other than writing today. My dogs were pleased to see me come home, and now I will make myself a cup of tea and then take the dogs out for a quick walk before sorting out dinner for my returning family. I may
 not have written much today, but my health and writing tomorrow will be better for it, I am sure.


Penny Dolan said...

A lot of good "writing life" strategies here, Anne, especially the life class - and that getting out for a daily walk too. I promise, once the tax is done . . .

Hilary Hawkes said...

You're absolute right - variety is good and healthy. And probably helps us to write better too!