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Finding your happy place

I am at my happiest on a horse and in the last few weeks I have gotten myself back into the saddle after a long 4 year break! For that hour and a half each week all my responsibilities go on hold, I’m without my children (a rarity!) and I can give my all to being in the moment. I always leave with a big smile on my face, which is noticed by my family for the following days after.

Often we don’t prioritise spending time in our happy place or doing things that make us happy because it can feel indulgent. We have been taught to feel uncomfortable with putting ourselves first. This applies in all spheres of life as a parent, partner or colleague. We are encouraged to play these roles to the best of our abilities and often this can lead to us putting others before our own well-being.

As a parent I know how easy it is to fall into this pattern of behaviour. We are influenced by those around us and can’t help but compare ourselves. Social media is a great place to share but sometimes seeing others apparent successes can be demoralising. I’m not afraid to admit arts and crafts aren't my forte and so when I see friends making amazing creations with their children I can feel guilty I’m not doing the same.

This guilt can pervade our consciousness and enforce a belief we are being indulgent, even selfish taking time out for ourselves. We may not be aware of this thought process, never mind how it could be affecting our decision making. So how can we be more aware and how can we manage this in-built belief so it has less of an impact?

One of my guiding principles as a parent is role modelling. If I don’t give myself ‘me time’ how can I expect my children to see the value of finding their own happy place. As I said I always come away from horses with a big smile on my face. I experienced an immediate endorphin release from exercise, I’m learning new skills by having weekly lessons, so I’m keeping my brain and body engaged in positive activity, but longer term that afternoon to myself is still sustaining me through the rest of the week.

Taking time out and visiting my happy place wasn’t a selfish thing to do, it was a necessary and deserved act of kindness to myself and in the long run everyone wins. When mummy is smiling, everyone is smiling :)

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