As an adult I flit between having a diary crammed full of exciting things and hardly ever being at home, to spending weeks on end vegetating in front of my television and drinking copious amounts of tea. Particularly as a member of the self-employed crew, I revel in being at home and love the familiar comforts that comes with – but I also operate at my best if I spend time a regular amount of time elsewhere. Seeing the same surroundings or being part of the same routine day in and day out can stifle creativity, leave us wondering what it’s all for, plus negatively helps to build up anxieties and frustrations; there’s a reason looking at the same four walls for years on end is our society’s main form of punishment, because that lack of inspiration or something to look forward to is like taking away an individual’s spark.
One thing I’ve always been a firm believer of is having something in your diary to look forward to; whether it’s a weekend away, a meal with friends, a wedding, a holiday or anything in-between, having those moments planned can mean the difference between a daily slog and a daily slog with a purpose. Nobody can remain motivated, creative, passionate and generally excited about the direction of their life if there’s no moment in time or event that makes all the struggles and strains of life worthwhile. It’s human nature to need some kind of ‘reward’ for your hard work (whether it’s an intense few months at work or simply juggling bringing up a family,) and important to recognise that need – because if you’re feeling lethargic, bored, anxious or generally not feeling yourself, then a little treat could make all the difference.
At the start of every year I make a real effort to think of all the things I want to do and all the places I want to go, or all the experiences I want to have. Researching my options I make an effort to pre-book as much as possible and start to fill up my diary with at least one thing a month to look towards as a reward for my hard work and generally juggling a thousand different commitments. Sometimes it’s an overnight stay in a country pub, sometimes it’s a spa day with a friend, other times it’s just a trip to see my mum or tickets to a show I’ve been dying to see, but they provide a guiding point as you progress through the year as a reason to keep going.
Most of the time you don’t even have to pay for trips or bookings up front, instead choosing a refundable booking or placing a small holding deposit so you can pay the amount off when you’re able to throughout the year. When we first decided to take a trip to Florida a couple of years ago the £4500 cost between us was a huge commitment, but we were able to pay a 10% deposit and clear the remaining balance any time between the day we booked and a month before we flew. It made something we thought may not be possible into a reality, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands on a holiday as a way of motivating yourself on a daily basis.
I’m known to book weekends away to visit friends months in advance, and it’s something I’ve always done; knowing there’s something around the corner that will shake me out of my routine is so important. Booking gig tickets or to see a show up to a year in advance is also one of my favourite things to do, as you forget about it for months before seeing it blocked out in your diary provides that moment of happiness and excitement about what’s to come. Sometimes it’s just planning a day trip to somewhere new, or making the most of the summer by spending a day on the beach, and doesn’t necessarily have to set you back a lot of money to do so. Because it’s not about the cash you spend, it’s about the experiences and the happiness they bring – and the whisper of which drives you on.
So if you’re feeling a bit fed up, or can often find yourself getting jealous over the ridiculously exotic holidays that seem to be filling up your Instagram feed, plan a few little things to put a smile on your face and make sure there’s always something in your diary to look forward to…
SOME OF THE THINGS I’VE GOT PLANNED IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS
* a black tie military ball with my husband’s family *
* a day at Comic Con with my fellow Doctor Who obsessed friend *
* a visit to the seaside *
* a handful of weddings *
* a trip to Bath over a bank holiday weekend *
* a local gin festival *
* a few days in Edinburgh staying in a Harry Potter apartment I found months ago *
* a day out in London to see Hamilton with my sister *
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