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.
Andrea, What a super post! When I read the title, I thought I might be reading something I’ve already read before (you know, like the short articles/blogs you see on HuffPost about “10 ways to…”). But nope, I’ve never read a recommendation to get a VW camper van as a way to take a time out. LOVE!
What I really do love about what you’re saying is the four-hour block of time one needs to really unwind. I’m one of those people who will be exhausted and overwhelmed at the end of the day and think, but I had a half hour to read and another 15 minutes to sit outside, why am I not relaxed??? We really need to give ourselves the gift of big chunks of time to get the maximum “time out” impact!
Thanks for posting this 🙂
Thank you for your lovely comments. Yes, finding ourselves a chunk of time is difficult, but so worth it! Moments of time can be helpful too, but a block of time, alongside the permission we need to give ourselves to practice unwinding is, I believe, not just a desire, but a necessity. And a VW Camper really does help 😉