10 steps to give yourself a time-out.
If you haven’t remembered to breathe out recently, this is for you:
No 1. Get yourself an old VW camper van (ideally pre 1990s), and air-cooled if possible. (Ok, so if that’s not immediately possible, maybe you could find a tree-house, a garden shed, a shepherd’s hut or a shady spot by the lake instead).
No.2. Schedule a date and time on your fridge calendar, your moleskin diary, phone(s), and all those other places that you try to organize your life (you will need to give yourself a minimum of 4 hours, for an optimum grown-up time-out). Write or type the appointment in Bold Caps as ‘HIGHLY IMPORTANT MEETING – NO INTERRUPTIONS‘, or your own cryptic equivalent.
No.3. Pack yourself a picnic. Ideally the picnic consists of a wicker basket, with lemon or ginger cake, a thermos of boiling – not just hot – water (tea-bags, milk and sugar in separate containers), soggy tuna or smelly egg sandwiches, Walker’s crisps (a brand name, for those of you unfamiliar with these, the best crisps/chips in the world, particularly cheese and onion flavour), your favourite chocolate biscuit/cookies, and pieces of fruit (to give yourself a healthy option).
No.4. Find old cassettes for the cassette player, or CDs (depending on the age and restoration of your camper van), or download a variety of tunes appropriate for driving the back roads, or, if the engine doesn’t start, sitting parked in your driveway.
No.5. You will also need a good book, magazines and maybe your journal, some paints, a colouring book and crayons.
No.6(a). Find a variety of maps. These really are only for show. The time-out ideally requires aimless driving (or aimless sitting in the driveway).
No.6(b). Find a variety of maps, and plan a route (just in case aimlessness makes you shudder).
No.7. Pack sweaters, socks, blankets, cushions and deck-chairs.
No.8. Get in the camper van, put the key in the ignition and, if it starts, get going either aimlessly, or according to your plan. Alternatively, sit in the van in the driveway.
No.9. Now breathe out, and ideally sing along to the cassettes.
No.10. Have fun x.