Last weekend I packed up the car, the child, the tent, some food, and “headed for the hills”. We were going to visit friends on their land for a short camping trip. On the day it did not seem the most important thing to be doing, but we were doing it anyway!
There were many more pressing things showing up on the day – like the housework that was piling up. Shopping for a new refrigerator was now on the agenda as well – considering that the old one packed up unexpectedly that very morning, delaying our departure. The urgent unpacking of fridge and freezer items into an esky and a friend’s freezer all needed to be done before I could set about thinking of everything we would need for camping and getting it packed into the car – ugh!!! And one look around my back yard that morning got me wondering if my yearning for some time ‘outdoors in nature’ wouldn’t better be fulfilled much closer to home – like, in my very own jungle of overgrown grass and weeds silently screaming for my attention?
Yes indeed, by the afternoon when we were still getting the fridge stuff sorted and the car packed and were therefore still at home instead of on the road, it was seeming much more practical and logical to cancel the planned trip – and yet my spirit was urging me to GO. I could sense how easy it would be to feel really FLAT if I put this mini-break in the “too hard” basket.
I am writing this to tell you what a fantastic decision it was to go away despite the pressing domestic matters! In the end we were away for less than 24 hours – and how effective that time was for relaxing and recharging the inner batteries.
The highlight was sharing great conversation and laughter with the family who invited us – good company sure can buoy the spirit. We also got to gaze into a campfire, roast potatoes in a coal pit, play board games, listen to the guitar being played beautifully by an 11-year-old, listen to frogs croaking merrily and loudly all night in the creek beside us as well as the noisy rain on the tent just above our heads that sounded even louder in the darkness. Faced with water on the floor of our tent overnight we got to work out how to keep most things dry until morning. In the morning light we got to walk over green pastures, and admire the many birds and the rainbows in the clearing sky. We enjoyed swinging out over the creek on a wooden plank rigged up to a tree branch. The kids got involved with gathering kindling from the bush and setting the fire, and even helped with the cooking and the cleaning up! (Must have been all that fresh air!!) And we all had the absolute pleasure of seeing a very large nest high in a tree that was inhabited by a pair of wedge tail eagles and their young.
Our trip away last weekend showed me some really important ingredients in my self-care toolbox – which are social time with good friends, and outdoor time to feel the space and embrace of Nature’s beauty. Plus the reassurance of friends to help in the face of unexpected events such as ‘white goods’ breaking down!
Now here I am, the weekend after our camping trip….writing this overlooking a very tidy backyard (having done the backyard lawn-mowing yesterday and having a lovely surprise of a neighbour mowing the front lawn and verge for me), and with a replacement fridge organised for delivery later this week.
So it seems to me when balancing out the important things to attend to in life, it’s kind of important to know that self-care goes beyond important – it is in fact, Essential.
Self care can have many forms in many situations, and last weekend taking up our invitation to head away for a night of camping was exactly what I needed to do for my wellbeing.
Have you chosen to prioritise some self-care recently, and did you get to feel the benefit?