Lockdown hasn’t meant a slow down for many in the Court. Life has just been hectic in a very different and more enclosed way! Here’s some tips on how to get out in local nature and take some time just for you.
Where to start? —
If you can leave your phone behind, that’s great! However, if you really need to have access to your mobile then maybe pop it on flight mode and make a promise to yourself not to check it until you really need to.
Some of the spaces we love —
Waterhouse Woodland Garden, Bushy Park
Located in the south-east corner of Bushy Park, these gardens include the Waterhouse and Pheasantry Plantations and plenty of spots to sit away from the crowds, at the right time of the day.
The Wilderness, Hampton Court Palace
The Wilderness is at its most colourful in early April, when a sea of over a million daffodils and other flowering bulbs spring into life. There’s plenty of benches tucked away in and around Charles II’s former formal pleasure gardens too.
hrp.org.uk (check if pre-booking is necessary)
Local parking (charged) available.
A little further away, this 18th Century landscape garden is one for your list when you have a more time to spare. Take the 2.5-mile historic route and pause at the lake for mid walk contemplation.
painshill.co.uk (check if pre-booking is necessary)
Find your special spot —
We’re blessed with so many beautiful spots in the local area, but they’re often quite busy on weekends and during the day outside of term times. Sometimes smaller pocket parks can offer more solitude than our big open spaces! Think about what’s local to you and where, very importantly, you feel safe to sit quietly alone.
Need more inspiration? —
Heading outside to quieten your mind can be fraught with expectation, especially if you’ve got limited time for yourself. Here’s a few pointers to avoid the pressure.
Don’t place goals on your search for calm or stillness. Simply tell yourself you are going to move, breathe in fresh air and have a change of scenery before you return home for the rest of your day.
Be open to where you might end up. Your favourite bench might be occupied or the path might be busy. Turn and choose a different direction for your walk, focusing on breathing deeply and enjoying the space around you as you move forward.
Sit and see. When you’ve found your happy place to sit, what can you see? What can you hear? What can you feel? Put your feet flat on the floor, rest your hands gently in your lap and just be in that moment. Drop your shoulders, unclench your jaw and unfurrow your brow.
Listen, breathe, relax: helpful podcasts —
Radio Headspace, by Andy Puddicombe and Headspace Studios
Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee
Daily Meditation Podcast with Mary Meckley