Meet Buster, he's a proper dude. He's kind, sensitive and without a doubt the most loving cat I've ever had (and I've had a fair few). Sometimes I wonder if he actually knows what I'm saying to him as he appears to listen to me so intently. But the best thing about him is, frankly, he doesn't give a toss. He'll sleep where and when he wants to sleep (which is a BIG proportion of his time), he'll acknowledge you if he can be arsed and he thinks nothing of climbing onto peoples knees if they look comfy. Such a contrast to our world - we feel like we need to get back to that email now, we should get on and do that job we've been meaning to do, 'I really should be keeping my social media more active'. But I think we can take something from Buster - we need to learn to give ourselves time off, time to just lie with our eyes closed and listen.
Over Christmas I was post op and recovering from the general anaesthetic, I'd also managed to pick up the 'great lurgy of Christmas 2014'. I couldn't do much but sit as I'm not sure if you've ever tried crutches when your muscles ache but it just ain't happening. So in this time instead I read my Kindle and LISTENED to music. I caps locked that because though I have music on constantly throughout the day I never actually just stop and take it in. I remember one particular moment when 6music had an Iceland special (which I definitely recommend) playing and a Sigur Ros track I've listened to what must be a hundred times came on. It was like listening to it for the first time, it took on a whole new level when I just stopped thinking about everything else and just LISTENED.
It made me wonder how little time I'd been giving myself and I decided to make a pact with myself. So instead of turning my phone on on weekend mornings to check Instagram/Facebook/Twitter (always that order) I'll instead either read a chapter of my book or listen to a track (Buster loves this because he gets to snuggle on the bed with me). This simple action made such a difference to my weekends that I began to ignore social media altogether in the week too until after breakfast and have instead found I have more time to stretch or just stare out the window watching the birds for 5 minutes and I'm so grateful for it.
When I'm out of plaster and back into the swing of things I'm going to return to getting up earlier and doing yoga before breakfast - I remember when I used to do this as being one of the calmest of my life. It's amazing how we don't realise how neglectful of ourselves we have become.
Are you in need of giving yourself a break? Of switching off, even just for 5 minutes? I'd love to know how you go about it or if you have any more suggestions of small luxuries we can fit into our days.
I'll leave you with a perfect album for switching off for a bit...
Formally Emma Gutteridge