SWB on a September reset

‘I call September the ‘slidey’ month’ said a friend yesterday. When I inquired how so, she explained: ‘because if you don’t carve out time for yourself, you get caught up with the kids and suddenly it’s January.’


Was ever a truer phrase spoken? To me it’s a bittersweet month, tinged with sadness that the longed-for summer holidays have passed, but blended with relief that a routine for the wee buggers is re-established.


Aside from the melt of sorting the kids out for school, I think there is a collective ‘Thank f**k’ from parents,’ (and let’s face it, mostly mums) that they don’t have to scour the internet for summer schemes and annihilate the bank balance in the process.


During the holidays I feel a constant hum in my head, as though a little wasp has made its home in my earhole. I can’t properly relax as I’m constantly ‘on’- painfully aware that my children are around and might need me. Don’t you get tired of being responsible for someone else’s happiness for two months? I find it very grating.


Hence this is why yesterday, I responded with unprecedented enthusiasm when my friend Jane asked if I’d like to join the 6.30 (am!) running group. Initially I said No. No no no. Again no- I’m not a morning person, I said. But then, capricious creature that I am, I did a u-turn quicker than the Tory government under Truss.


In a moment of unusual clarity, it struck me that this is EXACTLY what I need to reset after my summer of pastries and rosé.


We need time for ourselves! said Jane, who has four children, yet always appears  buoyant and put-together. But she wouldn’t be, she told me, if she didn’t prioritise her needs, and at present, pre-breakfast is the only time she can guarantee it.


I agreed. How very life-affirming to claw back uncompromised ‘me’ time before the demands of children and animals. (Poor auld LSB- he doesn’t even get a look in here) I also need an incentive to stop drinking wine in the evenings. I love wine. I savour the first sip over dinner before shifting to the sofa, glass in hand, for an episode of Modern Family with the girls. For me, this ritual says, “I am off the clock. I am not leaving the house to take anyone anywhere. See my arse? It’s glued to the seat.’


But this is not good.  In the mornings I am sluggish, and feel defeated before the day’s even begun. Action is needed.


Lynette Fay in the Irish News agrees that September is a much better month to reset than January, which makes perfect sense to me, with its soft golden light and autumnal glow. Last New Year, I’m ashamed to admit, I spent a over a hundred quid signing up to an online group called The Six Pack Revolution, inspired by a Guardian writer’s experience. Readers, I lost no weight. I couldn’t stick to the food plan and nearly gave myself a hernia doing the exercises. ‘I’m on a diet,’ I kept bleating miserably to the girls. ‘STOP going on about it!’ they implored. So I deleted all the emails from the coach, left the Facebook group and drank some wine to celebrate. I put it down to a moment of insanity.


But this morning, wait til you hear! I set the alarm, and at six twenty-five, I met four lively ladies on the Ravenhill and we ran five km. There was barely a ripple on the Lagan and all was calm and serene. I haven’t described EVER put the words ‘Monday’ and ‘serene’ in the same sentence. I had one glass of wine with dinner last night, cleaned the kitchen and I did ten minutes of Kundalini yoga before bed. Jane’s husband tells her she’s created a ‘Movement’ and I think he may be right. If I do this a couple of times a week, I’m hoping that the benefits will trickle through to the rest of the day, and maybe, just maybe, to a much more positive mindset.



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