I was chatting with the director of PR at my publishers (Hay House) recently and she asked me about how I balanced work and home. It led to a conversation about what I considered a perfect weekend.
I told her that I’d describe a recent one as a ‘best of both worlds’ weekend.
I was up at 5am on the Saturday morning. OK, maybe that isn’t most people’s idea of perfect but I do love early mornings. I get up most mornings around 5.30am and write for 2 hours before Oscar, my 20-month-old Labrador, lets it be known that it’s his morning walk time.
On that Saturday, I was driving to Newcastle to run a full day workshop on ‘How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body’. It’s part of a UK-wide tour I’m doing. It was only a 3-hour drive and I enjoyed some coffee on the way.
I love teaching the subject. Despite probably teaching the same thing a good few hundred times, I never tire of it. I still get excited as I passionately explain the same concepts. I love the look on people’s faces as they just ‘get’ it – how much their mind is affecting their body all the time and how to harness it for health and healing. Quite often, people come on the workshops who are sick and I love the hope and sense of personal empowerment they leave with.
A lady on the workshop shared how, after reading my book, she’d used visualization to make a remarkable recovery from cancer. It’s these kinds of things, I think, that make it such a rewarding thing for me and reminds me why I do what I do.
I got home around 8pm on Saturday night to a welcome from Oscar that lasted about a quarter of an hour. He gets so excited that he needs his comfort blanket in his mouth to contain it. He been like that since he was a puppy. I so remember the days when he was a tiny ‘Andrex’ puppy.
It always makes me smile, those commercials. We see the cute little puppies playing with the toilet rolls. What we don’t see is when the camera goes off. They’re chewing the camera cables and ripping up the carpet. Ah, the fond memories …
Elizabeth, my partner, had some food set out for my arrival. I love crusty bread with olive oil to dip it in. So does Oscar, incidentally. He’ll drop anything – even a raw meaty bone – for the promise of that, or some butter. We enjoyed it with a refreshing glass of prosecco before having dinner. I was in heaven. I actually love the contrast of a full-on day of teaching, plus a long drive home, followed by a relaxing meal and some wine.
Next morning we took Oscar on a 4-mile walk in the countryside where we live. It was a beautiful day. I love blue skies. We live in the country so it’s especially beautiful when the sun is out. Oscar got to swim, which he loves. We live close to the river. His favourite place is a little beach area. He runs ahead of us when he recognises where he is and stands staring at us as we approach, waiting eagerly for us to throw a tennis ball in the water for him to retrieve.
He would have us doing that all day long. He swims out, brings it back, and drops it any our feet, looking up with excitement and wagging his tail for it to be thrown back out again.
I feel so happy on these walks. Oscar has been great for my health. I walk around 20 miles a week with him and I’m about 8 pounds lighter than I was before he came into our lives. Dogs are also great for the heart. Research has shown that interacting with a dog massively elevates levels of the hormone, oxytocin, which is a cardiovascular hormone (among it’s roles, including childbirth and breastfeeding) in both humans and dogs. It protects the heart from lifestyle damage.
The rest of the day was relaxing and just what I needed after a busy past week. My mum popped over in the afternoon. She loves to help with our very large garden. She also enjoys coffee from our coffee machine so we drink plenty of that. She received a long welcome from Oscar too.
So that’s why I called that weekend a ‘best of both worlds’ weekend. I got to enjoy two contrasting worlds, both of which I love. Teaching and having family time are what I thrive on.
What about you? What’s your idea of a perfect weekend?