I've been setting aside a lot of time for the outdoors this month, really making an effort for 30 Days Wild - I've been going for walks, taking my breakfast outside, my morning workouts (the bonus of using a workout book rather than a DVD), taking my mum outside and showing her the garden and all the flowers in bloom, and it's been lovely. But more than that, I really feel like I've needed it lately. For the past few days in particular I've felt run-down, unwell, and generally in a bad mood. I've been seriously getting in my head about my recently published book and how well I wish it was doing, the progress of the book I'm presently working on and questioning my writing skill entirely, shedding the last of my fat and fighting the overwhelming desire to stuff myself silly with chocolate, and I've generally been feeling deflated.
So today, I set aside the time to meditate in the grass.
It sounds a bit pretentious, I know, but meditation can really help me to relax. Just sitting comfortably, breathing deep and just letting my mind wander. Not shying away from the thoughts that have been stressing me out but facing up to them instead, picking them apart and dressing them down so I can understand where they're coming from and if they're even worth my time. They're not.
It's so easy to get bogged down in the trials of every day life, as minor as they see, but we can let small things pile up and grow into huge monsters that end up haunting us with every step the longer we ignore them or simply let them go by unaddressed.
So I sat outside for about 25 minutes, going over everything, listening to the blackbirds, the squirrel running to and from the feeder who either didn't notice me or didn't care, the trickle of the fountain in the pond, and enjoying the smell of cut grass from the field behind the house.
By the time I opened my eyes, I felt a thousand times better. I was calm for the first time in days - weeks, even - and I really felt in control of myself again. It was a wonderful feeling.
I pottered about for a little while longer, enjoying the grass beneath my bare feet, the warmth of the sun peeking through between the clouds, and promising myself that an ice cream once in a while was no bad thing. I didn't have one, but the idea of one doesn't make me feel guilty.
Meditation, or 'just sitting in the grass, comfortably, eyes closed and breathing deeply', is an overlooked tool for chilling out, and taking even just ten minutes a day can do a real wonder for your emotional health, as well as provide a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with nature. Breathing deep makes it hard to ignore the scent of flowers, and lack of electronic distractions encourages you to take notice of the myriad of bird song and babbling waters that may be around you in your garden or local park.