I was looking through our summer holiday photos, earlier this week, and I came across this one that I haven’t really taken much notice of up till now. Its quiet beauty does more than bring back memories of our summer camping trip. For me, it creates a sense of peace and tranquility that settles shattered nerves.
It created a sense of sanctuary during our holiday. It was as if we were on a retreat, even though we were interacting with others and going for day trips around the area.
The stream runs through the garden between the small camp site at Trericket Mill and the owners’ house, an old flower mill that was originally driven by this stream. The camp site only has space for about six tents. It has deliberately been kept small. The owners have provided everything that a camper could possibly need including a cooking stove, utensils, pans, kettle, teapots, crockery and cutlery. I don’t think I have ever stayed at such a well-prepared camp site.
Apart from being the owners’ home, the mill is also a bed and breakfast. But the one thing that caught our attention was the fact that it is a vegetarian bed and breakfast. We mentioned that we are vegans for health reasons, but that we would like to have a meal in their restaurant. We commented that we sometimes had to compromise. “No you don’t,” was the reply. And they went out of their way to give us a treat. They arranged their menu for our benefit, even using their own vegan ice cream for our desert instead of the milk-based ice cream that was on the menu. They were so accommodating that we will return, probably next summer, and sooner if circumstances permit.
I mention this holiday because the plan was for us to have a relaxing time. And we were able to relax. The area is a mobile phone blackspot. It was wonderful. Although text messages eventually came through when the wind was in the right direction, we had a few days of relative peace, cut off from the outside world even though the site is adjacent to the main A470 artery that runs through from North to South Wales. It was like our own little sanctuary; and just standing on the bridge looking at this stream was so relaxing.
We all need time for ourselves. We need time to calm our shattered nerves. We need time to relax. Life is so hectic, these days. We really need to find our own quiet corner and curl up with our own thoughts. We need our own little sanctuary.
Where is my sanctuary?
How can we have our own sanctuary? Why not try some of the following:-
- Schedule time every week for you and your immediate family, away from those who would make excessive demands on your time and energy. Don’t compromise that time. Tell everyone that it is your time. No exceptions.
- Schedule time every day for your family. Make sure you eat at least one meal together. And eat the meal with all entertainment sources switched off so that you can enjoy each other’s company and conversation.
- Don’t raise issues during meals. Apart from causing indigestion it breaks families apart. Make mealtimes a positive experience. Raise issues calmly at some other time.
- Schedule time every week, and preferably every day, for yourself. It need not be long; a few minutes will do. But if you can get at least half an hour that’s better. Make it your time to do what you want, but include some meditation time in it. And, by meditation, I mean thinking positive thoughts that help you solve the issues of your life.
- Treat yourself once a week. This need not cost anything. I like to go walking. That costs nothing but a good pair of boots.
- Show appreciation for the little things. Don’t get tied up in material pursuits. We don’t actually need that much.
- Show special appreciation for your husband or wife, especially if you have been married a long time. How long is a long time? You decide!
- Try going for a specified period of time without access to your phone, computer, tablet. Believe me, you are not likely to die because of this!
- Write. Keeping a journal is not just for recovering alcoholics. Writing a journal helps you to order your thoughts and de-clutter your mind.
- De-clutter your life. If you have a lot of de-cluttering to do, as I do, start in one small corner. Make it a special place for you. Then expand it through the rest of your life-space.
- Read widely. If possible, read proper paper books. But leave the newspapers alone. They are distracting. Reading a good book, even if it has to be electronic, is a great way to relax. So make it an up-building book. Aim to learn something new from it, if you want to; but most importantly, just spend time in quiet reading.
- If you cannot say anything good, don’t say anything at all. This is probably one of the hardest, but also one of the most rewarding of challenges. But it does mean that your life will flow gently and calmly.
My plan is to come back to these suggestions, again. I hope to write at length about each point, and probably a few more, in its own article. I’m not suggesting that I’m an expert on these things. I don’t profess to know everything there is to know about relaxing. But I have learned a thing or two from other people over the years. If I can pass some of it on, and if it does someone some good, then I will have achieved something useful.
Interestingly, that is another way to calm shattered nerves: Do something to help others. It helps our lives to flow gently. Try it. What do you have to lose? If it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry. At least you tried. But if it does work, you will feel content. And that is worth the effort.