Reflections on Filling Yourself Up First
Fresh Air Fridays in January
This month during my Fresh Air Friday sessions we have been talking about filling ourselves first.
Many of us are brought up to believe that we need to put the wants and desires of others before our own. This may be fine for a while, but long term is unsustainable and works for nobody.
When we spend time re-charging our own batteries and doing the things we need for our own wellbeing, then we can support and give to others. It is a bit like the safety briefing on a plane where they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.
I’ve run two sessions this month and discussed this theme with my members and visitors, here are some of my thoughts and reflections from what we experienced.
In every Fresh Air Fridays session, we start with a deep breathing exercise, this is an immediate and easy way of calming the body. It was very noticeable the difference in everyone after taking a couple of minutes to just breathe deeply.
As soon as I stopped and took time to do some deep breathing, I noticed my surroundings and the number of birds that were singing, I had not noticed this until I stopped being busy doing and spent some time just being.
Paying attention to our surroundings
Taking time to be present to my surroundings is so important to me and I know I’m not alone in this.
It’s an opportunity to forget about the ever growing to-do list, to at least temporarily stop worrying about what might happen in the future or dwelling on something which had bothered me previously and just enjoy being in the current moment.
For the first of my two sessions this month, we went to the roman wall at Silchester. It was fabulous to stop and look at the structure of the roman wall, wonder where the stone had come from and marvel at how long it has been there.
I soon noticed people on the session who had arrived saying they felt stressed and looking a bit distracted, had calmed down, forgotten about their mobile phones and were taking time to enjoy talking about the things they love to do.
What makes us happy?
We talked about what we love doing, things that help us fill ourselves with energy. There were many varied things and just talking about them made us all smile.
What stops us doing those things that fill us up? Lots of I should, or I must statements, our feelings of obligations to others and putting needs of others above our own.
One person commented that it is often her husband who notices when she is doing too much and needs to do something for herself.
On Saturday I walked on the Basingstoke canal with a member, we have both experienced the session on filling yourself first previously, yet we noticed that each time we revisit the subject we gain new insights and have new ideas.
This time we spoke about some simple things like taking a few minutes out to read a book or going to bed earlier to give ourselves time to relax, enjoy reading and get to sleep early enough to have a good nights’ sleep.
Another idea that came up was that filling yourself first doesn’t have to be an individual activity, it could involve doing something as a family or a couple. Things that we thought about were visiting a museum, going to an art gallery and visiting a spa.
One of the most relaxing days out I had recently was going to the British library with one of my daughters to see the Harry Potter History of Magic exhibition. It was fascinating getting insights into the history of magic and feeling you were stepping into the shoes of JK Rowling as she sat with a cup of tea and created the stories and characters in the Harry Potter series.
Tea break & meditation
Back to our Fresh Air Fridays session, following a refreshment stop with a hot drink and snack we did a short meditation and then talked about what actions we would take this month to make sure we are taking care of ourselves.
Finally, we took a few minutes to consider what we are grateful for.
By focusing on the positive things in our lives we are training our brains to look for positives and have a positive mindset. This can be difficult when life is challenging but just being grateful for the small pleasures in life is enough to change our mindset longer term.
This weekend I am grateful for the fact that I found Fresh Air Fridays and I have rediscovered some of the things I love to do that I’ve been neglecting.
Why not join us?
Next month in Fresh Air Fridays we will be talking about and practicing being present. This underpins all our other themes and is something we visit every month and February will be a time to explore it in more depth and really immerse ourselves in staying present.
My sessions in February will be on:
- Friday 9th February in the Pamber Heath/Silchester area
- Saturday 24th February in the North Wamborough/Hook area
If you would like to come and try Fresh Air Fridays, get in touch with me today through Facebook, phone (07768 497512) or through The Wellbeing Centre in Newbury (open for drop-in and telephone enquiries on 01635 552874 weekdays 9:30am – 5:30pm and saturdays 9:30am – 1pm).
I look forward to seeing you relax and let go of your worries in the glorious outdoors soon 😉