Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others!
Do you find you are constantly “on the go” with little time for yourself? Or if you do somehow manage to find some “free time” you feel guilty about having empty slots in your calendar, and you have the thoughts going on in your head such as “I should really be doing the washing / writing a report etc”?
Today, I followed Action For Happiness Org’s daily action of having a no plans day, and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I was feeling exhausted after the working week, and feeling a bit rebellious, woke up this morning deciding to have a day that did not have plans.
Despite the early morning feelings of ‘guilt’ about how I should have a ‘productive day, I decided to go with the flow, and enjoy not having any pre-planned commitments (I’ve had a pretty full on couple of weeks)
I enjoyed taking the time to settle down for a slow morning start with some books from my “to read” pile (yep, I’m a self-confessed book worm and love lifelong learning).
I met up with a friend last night for the first time in almost 4 years, and she gifted me Bruce Feiler’s ‘Life In Transitions’ – even better as I told other friends last week that I just had to break my self-imposed book ban by purchasing the two books about Germany (but I wasn’t going to buy any more 😉). As a Career Development Practitioner, I support clients with their transitions, whether it be career pivot, retirement, military to civilian, return to work etc.
I hadn’t meant to buy any new books last week, but I was browsing a bookshop whilst waiting to meet friends to see the Lightscape in the Botanical Gardens. With a couple of hours to spare, I find myself in the bookshop, and was disappointed to find the only travel book about Germany was the Lonely Planet Guide, only one cookbook about German Christmas baking, amongst a sea of so many cookbooks from other countries.
Desponded, walking along I came to the history section. Well to say a few choice #@#@# 🤬🤬 were said under my breath when I saw that section, would have been an understatement! Judging by the cornucopia of titles on the shelf, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought the sum total of German history was from the periods of 1933 – 1945!
That was until, I stumbled upon ‘A Brief History of Germany’ dating from (and bless with Cologne landscapes on its cover) ranging from Roman occupation, the important Westphalian Peace Treaty in 1648 (I count myself lucky to have lived for three years in Münster, one of the cities involved in the signing of treaty), through to present times.
‘Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Gown-Up Country’ looks at the challenges, vulnerabilities, strengths and achievements of Germany including throughout the pandemic compared with other nations, and is a mix of personal journey, anecdote and evidence-based information by economist John Kampfner. This is helping me to gain a greater insight and appreciation into the lives and culture of Germany. I read OECD reports on a regular basis relating to global trends etc in relation to Career Development. It was comforting to see Kampfner referring to OECD reports in this book.
When I met one of my friends later that day who is German, and told her how angry I was to see that there is still such a narrow perception of German history and by extension Germany, she couldn’t help but shout out THANK YOU!
In those two words, I realised what intentional or unintentional bias and prejudice she must come up against today. 💞 My heart went out to her and other people I know. 💞 I count her as one of my truest friends, who I have been blessed to meet, and I am so glad she is helping me plan my German Biergarten themed birthday.
Having a no plans day, helped me to be in the moment and reflect on all of this. It has been great to be curled up with a cup of tea, watching the vividness of the sunset from the comfort of my upstairs window, thinking about how wonderful it will be when I can finally catch up with someone else I care greatly for, and haven’t been able to see for the last couple of years.
All in all, I am feeling more recharged to tackle chores tomorrow, and the start of next week. Hope you can find time to have a no plans day and recharge x