My favourite ways to relax

In times like these, where the world appears filled with uncertainty and stress, it’s so important for us to stay grounded and have strategies in place to keep us well. With that in mind, here’s what I find helps relax and distract myself. 

Cross stitch

This is one that I’ve had for a while, although since having Ophelia it has taken a back seat. You see, cross stitch for me, requires me to be in certain moods and state of awake. For example, exhausted, stressed and reduced tolerances not a cross stitch day! Those days just lead to frustration and errors if I attempt it. But on days when I’m pretty content and want something to keep me focused and my hands busy, those are the days cross stitching relaxes me

Gardening

I’ve really started getting the gardening bug back since starting on the garden in our own home.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a complete novice; just last week I had to dig out a sturgeon that I failed to save from black fly. But that’s okay, because that’s part of the process for me. I’m learning. I’m learning that I seem to be better with growing veg than flowers, what parts of the outdoor space are more compliant and the importance of consistent watering. This one’s a slow burner but I can see it lasting the long haul. 

Colouring in

I know this one is a bit cliche right now but it’s true. Colouring in is perfect if I’m feeling creative but exhausted, it gives me something to concentrate on and a distraction, without being overwhelming or pressurised. It’s quite satisfying as a quick outcome activity. My favourite book at the moment is Animals, by Georgie Woolridge; beautiful illustrations with perfectly thick paper combines for an pleasurable colouring in experience to really enhance your flow.Flow is when you feel so connected and engaged that you don’t want it to end. Now, if only I could get a pocket sized version to carry with me wherever I go!

Geocaching


Combining walking, being outdoors and hide and seek skills, Geocaching is a great way to get out and about. The great thing about it, is that you can do long, riddled walks or short, quick dash and grabs-making it accessible for all. My favourite thing is to try to do it in my lunch break, a time I often don’t end up taking, unless I’m out in the country with a cache nearby. It is the most perfect way of breaking up my day and de-stressing, whilst giving me a purpose and goal. 

Any other tips on how to relax? 

TRAVEL: Seal watching in the Scottish Highlands

As a child I was always equally fascinated and in fear of the sea, perhaps it steams from watching Titanic at 11 years old, or perhaps it is the sheer vastness and mystic that surrounds it.  One particular memory I have is the excitement and trepidation I felt one particular summer holiday spent in Greece.

My family had decided to go on a boat trip with a local Greecian, to soak up the sun, eat local food and watch out for Dolphins.  When I wasn’t on my Game gear trying to coax the dolphins out with my game Echo the dolphin, I was looking into the deep blue sea imagining falling in.  What an odd thing for a child to be imagining, but I suppose that is the kind of thing that happens when you have such a vivid imagination- always envisioning every possible outcome.  We never did spot any dolphins that day, but I will always remember the excitement and hope I felt as every wave crest dropped.

As i’ve mentioned before, we want Ophelia to learn about the world around her, drink in the environment, embrace nature and the Scottish Highlands is the perfect place to start.

A short journey from Ophelia’s Papa’s house is Plockton; a small village dotted along the loch edge.  In the Winter, this sleepy village hibernates, with little to keep the village thriving in the bleak mid winter.  Come Summer, this place is awash with walkers, tourists, kayakers, sailers.

Calum has been running his Seal watching boat trips for longer than he would care to admit, he knows his stuff and makes for the perfect host; sharing his knowledge of growing up in this sleepy village and of course, the seals.  We got to see two herds of seals on this 1 hour boat trip; each time with 30+ scattered across the rocks, one lot with mere week old pups by their side.  The sheer beauty of these animals has to be seen to be believed, with Calum getting us close enough to fully appreciate them, without interfering with their wellbeing.

Our second viewing was half an hour or so up the road at  Glenelg, where we took the old cattle ferry across to the hide a short walk up the mountain.  On the ferry crossing we spotted several grey seals sticking those big eyes up over the waves and spashing their flippers.  It wasn’t until we got up to the hide however, that we got a true picture for the nature surrounding us.  Hide records detailed that a Sea eagle had been spotted half an hour before we arrived, we were happy simply to be able to follow some more grey seals that were bobbing along the shallow water’s edge.  It wasn’t until we looked further, that we spotted the rest of the gang.  On first glance, they could be mistaken for rocks, they camoflaged so perfectly in the fog, but it was infact a herd of common seals all laid out on the pebbly beach.  At any one time there were several other common seals bobbing and weaving along the water edge.  Mesmorising.

We’re linking up again with Our Seaside baby’s  wonderful travel series.