It’s time for a personal MOT

NOVEMBER 2016 | YOUR WORDS

I’m reviewing my to-do list. You know the one I mean – the one that’s partly jumbled in your head, partly scribbled in haste on the back of an old receipt and partly noted (in your best handwriting) on that spanking new list pad you purchased (when you had good intentions of getting your to-dos together in one place).

The list is long but as I take the time to consider mine…

  • pick up hubby’s dry cleaning
  • book that gift break away for mum and dad’s wedding anniversary
  • arrange boiler service

…I realise that there’s not much mention of anything for me. No “dust off that yoga DVD you asked for last Christmas and attempt an upward pretzel”. No suggestion to “take a stroll around the park on your own to blow the cobwebs away”. Nope. Nothing, nada, zilch.

It strikes me that I spend most of my time satisfying the needs of all of those around me but I don’t stop and take some time just for me.  Don’t get me wrong I adore my beautiful family and friends – and gladly give my time to ensure they are happy and healthy. But, heck, the car’s annual MOT is being prioritised ahead of me and my wellbeing.

Surely there’s something wrong with that?

What’s more concerning is that I’m not alone in this.  My female friends are all suffering from what I’m calling “lack of personal MOT”.  By this I don’t just mean finding the time to paint your nails or making the alarmingly-regular trip to the hair salon for a secret grey hair-assassination. It’s more than that. Personal MOT time means the mind, body and soul stuff. Prioritising some time to recharge. Giving ourselves space and permission to slow down and relax; to breathe in the summer air or watch the autumn leaves fall; to ponder the emotions and ideas that we don’t usually give the chance to surface; to do something we really enjoy (free of any guilt).

And so I decided it was high time something changed.  My to-do list gets re-written with a new entry requiring action… “make time for myself”.

It started in the form of a two hour rest stop on the South Bank.  Whilst my little one slept soundly in his buggy, I didn’t check my Blackberry with its tempting flash; I didn’t race around the supermarket grabbing dinner ingredients. No. Instead I strolled into a little bookshop and café; I bought myself a delicious almond croissant, a decadent latte and a new book*. Then I parked myself in a sunny spot in Jubilee Gardens to soak up some me-time. Bliss.

Continuing with my new-found ambition to carve out some personal MOT time, I have also signed up to Headspace – a simple little app on my phone that offers “bite-sized, guided meditation designed to fit busy modern lives”.  Meditation it turns out doesn’t require a gaudy Tibetan rug, deep trance-inducing hums or the slightly stomach-churning scent of incense (all of which were admittedly my pre-conceived ideas of meditation). Instead, modern day meditation apps encourage us to take some quiet time to declutter the mind and re-ground ourselves in the moment. I’m still a relative newbie but I can already see how learning to focus your mind away from the whirlwind of daily life, if only for a few moments, does lift your spirits and feed your soul.

Take time to look after your wellbeing

Before I finish, I encourage you to review your to do list and add time for yourself to that list. Find your outlet, your way to relax and recharge; whatever it may be. And promise to give yourself a personal MOT every once and a while 😉  If the rusty old banger on the driveway can have one surely us girls can have ours too?! x

(*In case you were interested, the book I bought was The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins, a book I’d been meaning to get around to reading for quite some time.  I thoroughly enjoyed it – an easy read with interesting characters and good plot twists.)

Post written by Women Aloud member [Laura F].

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