This weekend in NSW is a long weekend. Since our recent 4 week holiday in Europe, my wife and I have become a lot more pro-active about planning the shorter breaks in our lives. In the past, we have enjoyed slowing down a little but not really focused enough on doing things that help us fully disengage from our busy work-lives. So, this weekend we have built a garden and a pathway around it (see picture).
Our garden is my happy place
I enjoy garden projects. There is considerable joy in completing a project that has involved planning and some hard work. It replenishes me emotionally and it tires me physically but in a good way. This project involved about 6 hours physical work over two days. It also involved some planning over the past 2 weeks to make sure we had everything we needed to complete the project.
The garden is something my wife and I enjoy together. Not only does it make our home look better, we also gain the benefit of time spent together when we work in the garden. This is a win on several levels for our personal lives. A great place to replenish every weekend.
I have more than one happy place
I also played cricket on Saturday afternoon. This is another way I replenish. Cricket is a sport that I have enjoyed since I was 7 years old. I have some skills with both bat and ball and enjoy testing myself against the guys in the local 6th grade competition. Focusing on the ball in a game which is essentially nonsense, for several hours once a week is a great way to destress and clear my head from work related matters.
The other thing I need to do and enjoy doing, is keeping fit. I am 64 years old this year and had to have a hernia operation in January which slowed me down for a few weeks. To enjoy my garden and playing sport I need to work at my fitness all the time. I love to walk and listen to a podcast. I am also grateful for my daughter who is a personal trainer and puts me through a big workout twice a week. She encourages me by saying, “Good work dad! Those burpees (which I hate) will help you get out of bed when you are old one day.”
Every night I read for about 30 minutes after I get into bed. I only read fiction or biographies going to bed, which gets my mind off the issues of the day and helps me slow my brain down and prepare for sleep. This is another thing I look forward to every day. My wife and I are always looking for good stories and biographies to read.
Where is your happy place?
I am totally convinced that the pace of our modern business lifestyle is affecting us more than any of us want to admit or realise. If you do not have a happy place in which you replenish regularly, you will slowly become unravelled on the inside. The stresses of life mount up and can easily overtake even the most capable of us. I know when I went through a burnout experience 12 years ago, I was unaware until it was too late. I did not realise how lost I had become on the inside.
You need to find your happy place. The place or the thing you can do that enables you to replenish emotionally and to destress from the everyday issues of life. When you are frantically busy, say with a very young family, or in the start-up phase of a new business, you may just have one happy place. Even in the busiest seasons of life YOU MUST HAVE SOMETHING YOU DO EVERY WEEK (ideally a few times a week) THAT HELPS YOU DISENGAGE FROM WORK AND REPLENISH EMOTIONALLY. When life becomes a little more settled, you can have several like me.
Where is your happy place?