-Constantly running around like a headless chicken
-Physically and mentally drained
These are just some of the negative thoughts and feelings floating around a working parent's cluttered mind - mine included.
Sometimes you just need to escape; to momentarily forget; to focus on something away from changing a nappy; or running your life around appointments; or mowing the garden; or doing the calculations to see whether you need to work an additional shift at your other job this month.
Sometimes you just need to escape.
Back to basics
I have been paying attention to the BBC's coverage of Wild Britain this month, and came across a piece this morning detailing how there is an increased belief in the field of science stating that people who struggle with anything related to everyday life, can use nature to ease their struggles.
In other words, spending time outdoors with nature is a form of therapeutic medication. Nothing new, but with an ever increased awareness within society to the need for good mental health, I can see why spending time walking in the Lake District is far more beneficial than prescribed medication.
A natural remedy
Looking back to last weekends climb up England's highest peak with my brother, I recall feeling something I don't often feel. I felt my brain had surged into action from its evolutionary beginnings. It was using an area it rarely accesses. The area of curiosity, of wonder, of adventure.
There I was descending down from the rugged, and often unforgiving, Scafell Pike summit, asking my brother some seemingly unusual questions: "How do you think that boulder field materialised? Do you think anyone has ever set foot over there on that peak? Just watching the mist and clouds appear from nowhere is both astounding and frightening, isn't it"?
Writing in hindsight, I can be perfectly honest and say that all of the harmful thoughts and feelings mentioned at the beginning were nowhere to be seen. They had vanished as quick as the stunning mountain views appear from behind the mist. Not once did I worry about having to be somewhere by 1:30, or finding the time to clean the bathroom.
With day-to-day life getting busier, and with so many projects on the go, I felt like I needed to clear my mind, and there was no better medicine than the great outdoors
During our 6 hour trek, I remember my eyes and mind were completely transfixed on my surroundings, and what they meant and represented. Yes, there was some physical pain with the ascent and descent, but nothing the overpowering and, ultimately, far superior fact that I was in a truly fabulous place both mentally and physically, couldn't cure.
Being outdoors can help one and all
I also work on a casual basis with children and young people who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder. During training and talking to fellow professionals, a common theme crops up time and time again which touches on the fact that people who are autistic - who struggle to understand the world around them - still find it comforting and therapeutic to spend time outside with mother nature. It is as if we are all wired to respond to what lies on our doorsteps.
Reconnecting with nature, as a species, undoubtedly has a therapeutic effect on one's mental well-being and that search for balancing work and family life. It doesn't mean I didn't think about what my daughter was up to whilst away, or wondering whether my wife was having a good weekend. I did, but it just meant both my physical and mental self could momentarily escape and hopefully learn to manage those negative thoughts and feelings in order to lead a far happier, balanced work and family life.
Sometimes you just need to escape.