Shari is a freelance writer, blogger and stylist living in the beautiful Barossa Valley in South Australia. A passionate upcycler, she dreams of one day living in a handmade tree house.
Published November 29th 2016
We all need to take some 'me time' - time to recoup our energy after giving to others SO much that we have little left for ourselves. So often we mothers suffer from this, but dads, and men in general, do as well. However, it seems they feel more pressure to not 'give in' than even mothers do. Therefore I have come up with a few things that I and my divine other half use to slough off the ick, and get back our sparkle. (Although, with him being so manly and such, he would prefer it be called 'man shine'. 'Bloke Bling'?). I digress...
Note: These are all local to me, here in The Barossa, but you can find your own version, close to home, anywhere in Australia.
Walk somewhere quiet, with birds, and trees. Go by yourself if possible, or take your dog. Walk SLOWLY. Even if your puppy wants to pull, don't rush. Look at everything. Sit, if possible. Sip your water. Listen to the birds and see how many different species you can hear or see. Take photos of wild blossom, or pools or water. My reserve has frogs. They make noises I have never heard before.When I walk here, the idea that I am alone in a wilderness takes over, and all the worldly worries slough off. I collect fallen branches, seed pods, feathers and take any found rubbish away. Returning through my back gate, I feel renewed, and it has only taken twenty minutes. My husband prefers to look at other people's gardens for ideas and brings those ideas home to implement here, in his own little oasis.
Every library has so much to offer for zero cost. Books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, online resources, book discussion groups, meeting places, creative group spaces. For instance, in my local library there are rooms dedicated to gaming groups, genealogy groups and crafting groups, and a number of local book groups use the library after hours to meet, and discuss books, ( which are put on hold, for free, for book club members). In my local library the staff are funny, well read, helpful and knowledgeable. Coming here is often a blissful relief on a hot day, with cold filtered water available, a visiting coffee van, beanbags and lawn games on the green, comfy chairs, quiet corners and a welcoming atmosphere. Bring your tablet, log onto free wifi, cruise the net from an air-conditioned corner, listening to music on your headphones whilst working HARD on your next WeekendNotes article....or wasting time on Pinterest....which of course I NEVER do....or binge watch an entire series, all for absolutely zero cost.
I will be writing further on this topic in later articles, as this technique was something that helped me navigate one of the worst tragedies in my life, without resorting to anti-depressants or psychologists. I was then able to start the necessary processes with a clear 'vision'. Vision, or Dream Life, journals are easy to start, with a blank notebook, art journal, exercise pad or even A4 printer paper stapled together. Whatever you have to hand. Then you simply need a pen, some adhesive and a pile of magazines or junk mail.
Tear from the magazines images or words that ignite something in you. Don't try to make sense of them yet. Have a box, or basket, or shopping bag to put them all in...just 'react' to the images and put them aside STRAIGHT AWAY.
The time you put aside to create MUST be uninterrupted, so do it on a day that you are alone at home, or take yourself off to the library, bag full of images, notebook and glue in hand, and take an hour to start arranging. Do this at least once a week.
I'd love to know if you, like me, found that as the images became a Vision, and that the life you were virtually creating in your journal started to manifest in real life. Because it did for me. It's fun, but it can also be genuinely transformational!