As I dropped my daughters off at school yesterday morning, I waved at them and called out, “I’ll see you on Friday.”
For instead of heading back home to a messy kitchen and an ever-expanding to-do list, I was getting on a train out of London for a couple of days’ much-needed self-care.
It’s the third year in a row that I go away on a personal retreat in January to replenish myself and gather strength and energy for the year ahead.
The first time I did this – escaping to a shabby chic country hotel in Wiltshire – I wondered if it wasn’t a bit frivolous to take a mini vacation so soon after the Christmas holiday, but the fact is, it’s an absolute necessity for me.
Years of studying, working, mothering and weathering one health crisis after another, have taught me the value of, and profound need for, self-care.
Leaving home for a few of days’ solitude, rest and writing, is my way of finding my equilibrium and reconnecting with my inner wholeness. For although we are all born whole, external factors such as stress, social conditioning (our own and others’) often get in the way and as a result, we need to spend some time re-establishing that connection to our true self.
For me, silence and solitude are key, but for others, it may be that music and other people’s company help them reconnect with themselves.
Being surrounded by nature also helps me rediscover the essence of my wholeness. This morning I ventured outside for a walk around the hotel grounds, and even though most trees have lost their leaves, leaving them almost skeletal in appearance, they remain firmly rooted, prepared to withstand the harshness and unpredictability of winter.
Similarly, as long as we’re connected to our innate wholeness, we are capable of weathering the many storms – personal and political – coming our way.
Experience has taught me that in the long run, self-sacrifice benefits no one – not even one’s children – so if you haven’t done so already, make some time for self-care; time to replenish and reconnect with your essential wholeness.