Taking time to rest
As many celebrity health gurus have been telling us, being healthy doesn't just imply physical health. We need to look after ourselves mentally and emotionally, too.
I'm the kind of person who always needs to be on the go. If I'm not working, I feel guilty. Even when I'm supposedly having some 'down time' in front of the TV, I fidget and paint my nails, knit or catch up on my latest emails. I'll read something as I eat my breakfast - sometimes a new novel, but more often than not, it's a set text for my course, or a foreign news website online.
But after eight weeks of intense study, I knew that I had to take a complete break. At first, it was difficult to switch off from the world of work. At first, I would jump out of bed and say, "I want to be washed and dressed and ready to start work at 9:30." While this kind of motivation and forward planning is an invaluable quality of mine, and something I particularly appreciate when it comes to exam season, constantly setting targets for ourselves is not good, either.
It has only been in the last few days - just as I'm preparing to return to university for another exciting, exhausting term - that I have truly been able to embrace the joy of doing nothing. I have started to appreciate the luxury of waking up slowly, gently; ambling downstairs, rubbing sleep from my eyes, to drink a leisurely cup of coffee and watch the birds eat from the feeder in the garden. There's a great pleasure to be gained from spending an hour curled up on the sofa with a new book, or from talking with friends about nothing in particular.
In a world dominated by to-do lists, pinging mobile phones and constant activity, we need to bask in these little moments of calm, whenever they appear. We need to make time for these occasions and give ourselves the opportunity to experience the inner tranquility that comes from simply doing nothing, without feeling guilty about it.
This year, I'll be looking for little opportunities to rest. Will you?