When your hedge has a Mohican!

I know, I know, the mind boggles at the title of this week’s blog but as usual, give me a chance and all will be revealed. The hedge at the front of the house forgot to hibernate in the winter and kept on growing so it had to be taken down a foot or two and although it affords us privacy, it blocks out the light as in the evenings. My husband enlisted the help of a friend and with the aid of some power tools they decided to take on the hedge. What they didn’t anticipate however was that the hedge might be too tall. While the men wrestled with their conundrum, what was yours truly up to? Normally, I will be the one in the director’s chair pointing but not this time.

I was in my winter. Those of you that have read my book Octopus on a Treadmill will know what I am talking about here. If you don’t here is your chance to go read the book, it is a good laugh, I promise you.
During my winter, I try to put my feet up as much as possible. That is the time that I let myself off the hook to relax with no apologies. My boys (husband and two kids) know to leave me alone during my winter and the only thing they can expect from me is to look after me. This only happens once a month so it is not like they are breaking their backs taking care of me all the time. They know that during this time, if I cook it is because I choose to rather than I have to. They know that is the time I expect to be waited on, or better still to take myself out of circulation because it is all about my self-care. Even the dogs pick up the vibe and stop pestering me for walks and know that if take them out, I choose to because I want to be alone in the woods with my thoughts. This is not a time of should.

While I have been promoting my book and doing interviews, the one question that keeps coming up is how do you find the time in this busy life to have down time in your winter? My answer is; how do you not find the time? If something is important to you, somehow you find the time to make it happen. We somehow always find the time to make the doctor’s appointment. This is just as important if not more so, as it eventually saves us from having to make a doctor’s appointment. Once you get it into your head that taking time out during your winter is a need on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level, you will make the time. Not everyone can hibernate for the whole weekend like I do and have people wait on them, but you can aspire to that and start small. Have a lazy morning perhaps or have an early night Friday to Sunday. You are creative, the options are endless if you set your mind to it. Our bodies are not designed to go full throttle on all the days of the month. If you are female and you experience lunar cycles, then you have to work with your body. Ignore that at your peril. You might get away with it when you are younger when we are all supple and have endless energy and can wake up after 3 hours sleep and still feel the world is our oyster. Those of us who shall we say have the privilege of some years under our belt, with younger lives dependent on us now, know different.

Taking that restorative time out is an investment for the rest of the month and the earlier you start this habit as a young woman, the more you support your body and build healthy life sustaining habit. There are so many things you can do in this down time and once you get into the habit, you start saving certain activities just for this time of the month. Believe it or not, you actually start looking forward to this downtime. It is a time dedicated to honouring yourself. For me, I save up books/articles/blogs etc to read. I also binge watch films back to back. When I say relax, I mean it in every sense of the word. Sometimes I get all spiritual depending on what is going on in my life and meditate a lot and get more contemplative, but I am not always that high minded. Sometimes it is more about just the lazing about and giving myself the permission to relax unapologetically.

The winter is normally one week of the month and for me during this time, I will try not to go out in the evenings socially if I can help it. Sometimes, needs must, and I have to get my behind out there socially, but as soon as I can help it I come back to base. This is my week where my self-care takes priority. Some people say to me, ‘I have got a busy job, I have got small children, I have got elderly parents etc’. I have been there, done all that and got the T-shirt so I hear you. All what I am saying is that remember the oxygen mask analogy. You are no use to man or beast if you are dead. You must take some time out for yourself, you are just as important as your responsibilities. Your responsibilities exist because of you and not vice versa. You will find the time to make time for yourself once you accept this as a need. You will carve out that hour in the coffee shop for yourself. You will have an early night. You will have a lie in. You will go for that walk on your own. You will read that book. You will cook your favourite dish. You will have that massage. You will ask your spouse to bring you breakfast in bed. You will turn a blind eye to the dishes and the laundry (I promise, no one will die, honest!).

So here is what I did at the weekend. I still had to get up at 5.00am on both days to work because I didn’t have a choice but as soon as that was finished at 9.00am I switched into self-care mode. I went off on Saturday to my hot yoga class then came home, had lunch and switched into full on relax mode aka watching back to back movies and asking for top ups of my drinks as and when needed, then had an early night.

On Sunday, this is when things got interesting. Enter the aforementioned hedge. I got home from my early morning stint at work, made breakfast for all and my husband and his friend set about the job of the hedge while I took to vegging on the sofa to catch on my reading. Normally, if it wasn’t for my winter, I will be the director of operations at the hedge, shouting ‘You missed a bit’ and being given daggers by everyone involved. Luckily for me, I saved myself the daggers, caught up on my reading and decided a nap was in order. I woke up to find that the hedge was sporting a Mohican. Apparently after a couple of hours of battling with ladders and power tools, the guys decided that no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t get to the middle part of the top of the hedge. So in true male fashion they just tackled the sides of the top and left the middle, hence the Mohican. This is most definitely a unique look and I am not sure what the neighbours will make of it.

There is a part of me that thinks that maybe I if I had been there in my usual director of operations mode, we might not have ended up with a Mohican. But, was that a price worth paying for the care I took of my body, giving it rest when it most needed it, and giving myself the time that I couldn’t expect anyone else to give me? Will it have fostered a better relationship with my nearest and dearest for me to be out there at my sub-optimum and at my most intolerant, annoying everyone with my less than helpful control freakery?

Absolutely not! Give me a Mohican any day. It is a price worth paying! When you are well rested, it is very easy to put something like a Mohican hedge in perspective.