A short update from me. We have been back from our extended stay in the Caribbean for over two months now. The transition back to London went as well as we could have hoped for. We have caught up with family and friends, The Boy has settled incredibly well into his part-time nursery place, and I have been increasingly busy in the world of maternal mental health. So much so that I must stop a moment and catch my breath.
It is tempting, when things are going well, to cram in as much as humanly possible, to say "Yes!" to every request and generally make hay when the sun shines.
My life is now full with family commitments (The Boy has a busy social calendar, and we are always mindful of needing to research his options when it comes to starting school in 2017), and catching up with friends. I have a new trustee role at Cocoon Family Support (our local peer support organisation that I am now affiliated with), and a new part time job at the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership. To complement this, I have signed up to do Mental Health First Aid instructor training, so I can teach MHFA to all our local peer supporters, as well as take it to the corporate market.
Besides this work, I have been almost inundated with various media requests. It's fantastic that mental health (and especially perinatal mental health) is getting great coverage. I think I have reached the end in terms of telling my own story. In the last two months, I have been interviewed by a documentary filmmaker, an educational video charity, a national newspaper, a daytime TV show and ITN news!
I have learned in recent years not to give in to the "Yes impulse". I'm more likely now to spend the odd hour lying still, cooking a favourite recipe, going for a solitary walk, or watching a bit of quality TV drama. I know that these pauses give my brain a chance to catch up on itself. I can tell, when my thoughts and plans are running 19-to-the-dozen, that I need to slow down. That I need to escape the constant stimuli of modern life. Mindfulness has helped with this realisation, for sure. But it is also just getting a bit older and wiser.
There's no special secret to living happily. It's just learning to know your own rhythms and moods, and how you respond to day to day life. I guess in the Dark Ages we naturally had to shut down, when the sun went in and there was little to do but watch the stars and the moon. Now we can be passively entertained 24-7, and I'm not sure that's progress. It's up to us to learn how to be still, and benefit from the calm to be found there.