What do you think of when you picture yourself relaxing? A deserted beach on a tropical island? Sitting at the top of a mountain in the middle of the countryside? Being at a spa? …. I’m not sure many of us will make it to a tropical island this year due to the pandemic and those of us children, particularly single parents can only dream of it right now! In reality we dream of having an iced tea of coffee through choice, not because we made it hours ago and it’s been left to get cold, or having 5 minutes peace, being able to read a book without reading the same sentence over and over again due to the sound of ‘Mummy!’ or the peaceful sound of siblings squabbling!

However, I was lucky enough to take myself away to a caravan in the countryside…it was less than ½ hour away from where I live but you wouldn’t have known it aside from having the iconic view of the Humber Bridge. It was so idyllic and peaceful…there was nobody around except the people who lived there and all you could see was the nature reserve, the bridge, and their menagerie of animals as well as all the wildlife. When I arrived all, I could think was ‘wow’, it was stunning and incredibly calming, I could feel my entire body sigh a breath of relief as it relaxed whilst being surrounded by nature.

I was a little apprehensive about going on my own and not knowing what I would do with myself being in the middle of nowhere, so I had packed my laptop just in case, but I had an assertive duck in my head telling me to make the most of being where I was and to not open my laptop. So instead, for the first time in months, I opened a book and sat outside with a cup of tea and read surrounded by the sound of ducks, birds, sheep etc. It was a lovely feeling. No clock watching, nothing to do, no expectations, my time was my own.

I felt incredibly relaxed and was surprised that I felt so comfortable and content…I do struggle sometimes being on my own especially when I am not in my own home, but I had the best nights sleep that I have had in a long time (possibly helped by the lack of little ones kicking in their sleep!). Yes, I did get woken up in the early hours by something tap dancing on the roof but as soon as I realised it was just a bird, I soon drifted back off to sleep.

I wasn’t lucky enough to see the deer, badgers or otters that apparently visit (probably because I was snuggled up in bed), but I did sit and watch a heron with my morning cuppa and the sheep came to say hello. I also had the ducks come to greet me!

At home I still find at times that I am jumpy…like now, because I have heard the letter box rattle so I immediately rush up dreading what may be waiting for me (I know, crazy!)…before I left to go away I saw that the post had just been delivered as I was driving off so despite telling myself that there’d be nothing there I knew it would be on my mind and stop me relaxing so I ended up driving back to check the post. This is something I need to work on, it doesn’t affect me all the time but at the minute it seems to be affecting me more than usual for some reason. Obviously being away there were no cars, no post, no people, therefore nothing to make me jumpy.

I’m really pleased that I did allow myself to go away for the night and I even went out my comfort zone and went to a café for breakfast on my own – I’m not one for going out on my own as I tend to feel conspicuous and just feel I should quickly have my drink or eat and then leave and envy those people who are happy to sit on their own. However, I did it and I even decided to try a vegan breakfast which was very tasty. One step at a time I’m trying to challenge myself to do things that are new to me or outside of my comfort zone, after all, life is for living!

Next time I get the opportunity to do something like that I want to try and feel able to turn my phone off and know that the people who may need to contact me know where I am and so I don’t need it on. In a way it is a shame that we now live in a culture that expects us to be online all the time and that our phones are constantly pinging for one reason or another.

Right now, I feel as though my battery has been re-charged and when I close my eyes, I can picture the view I had from the caravan, and I feel a complete sense of calm. I may try and use that image for visualisation.

It did me the world of good and feel I should try and do something like that more often.

My view…. Idyllic!