2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: me-time


It is that time of year when everyone seems to be going on holiday. Cases get packed and left in the hallway ready to go. You finally manage to get that airport transport booked and the passports are checked for the thousandth time. Here is the thing though a holiday can take you anywhere. It can take you away for a weekend, a week or a month if you are lucky. You could go anywhere in the world. A few miles down the road to a spa hotel for instance. Or it could take you three flights and get you to the other side of the world. As I say it could take you anywhere but it would still be a holiday.

What is a holiday?

For me a holiday is that ultimate me time. The time that you dedicate to you and you only. It can be a time to relax, spend time in the warmth of the sunshine, read a book all day drinking an iced lemonade. Well this is if you are good at relaxing. However, me time to me is being active, not really a surprise. I like to go on long walks, swim in a lake, run around doing a garden or house project, see cultural things that I may not get to see being at home. As I say I like to be active on holiday. If I get chance I also like to do adrenalin filled excursions like sky diving too.

Sometimes we forget to take holidays

This is very true. I have done it twice in the personal training world. The first year I was in the industry I put it down to the fact I was just starting and getting used to it. I had changed careers in the March, started as a personal trainer in the May and then kept going till the December. We had gone to Sweden for Christmas and I caused great concern when I slept for around twelve hours straight. It was up to Rosie to explain why to her parents and that I was ok. You would have thought I had learnt my lesson after that but no. When I first moved to Scotland, I started the new job in the January and worked straight through till the December. The only days off I had last year were for my Wedding. Not good, not good at all. I was tired, I was irritable, I was grumpy, my body hurt as I kept pushing forwards and I knew I was exhausted.

This year

This year I made sure I took holidays and that is why I am writing a blog on holidays. I am off on one tomorrow morning (well if one particular airline does not strike). I am off to Sweden until Monday. We have forest walks and swimming planned, barbecues, a trip to the big sports warehouse and Rosie has a surprise planned for me too. I have been to Sweden so much over the last five years it is like a second home now. We stay with Rosie’s parents in the middle of the Swedish countryside which means it is quiet, full of forest trees, wildlife and my favourite, a starry sky. A tranquil place to recharge the batteries, have some fun and just have some me time.

Work, work, work

As I have said we sometimes forget to take holidays. We have a major report due in, in two months’ time that we need to spend every waking moment writing. We have to meet the sales targets, or our job is on the line. We have to make sure that we attend that weeklong course we are booked on so the company can proceed forwards. We have to manage teams, attend meetings, make sure there is enough tea in the cupboard and so on.

Home, home, home

Then there are our home lives. We need to make sure the family are fed. That we look after our elderly relatives. That the kids schoolwork is complete on time and that volcano project you spent every night working on is handed in. We need to make sure the grass is mowed so the neighbours don’t start talking and again so on.

Take it from me

In short, take a holiday. Give yourself two days off for just you. Trust me. You will feel better, refreshed, relaxed and happy.

Saturday’s blog

Rosie and I discussed what we would do here. We could write the blog in advance and put it up or we could give the blog a holiday. As we have never been good at the towing the line thing and we march to the beat of our own drum, we have decided to give the blog a holiday. It is only one day after all. We will of course be back to it next week.


Do something you love!

Do exactly that. Do that one thing that will put a smile on your face, will give you that extra spring in your step and will make you feel happy. Take some time out for you and do something nice. Now, this doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could mean running a warm bubble bath, lighting some candles and taking a long soak with a glass of wine and a (waterproof) book. It could mean going away for a spa weekend or it could mean spending time friends and family. Last weekend I did just that. Something that I love.

I haven’t been cycling for ages

This is very true. The last time I did any type of long distance on a bike was about 18 months to 2 years ago. I used to do it all the time. Almost every weekend I would be seen on a bike heading out to the Thames Tow Path, Richmond Park or over to Windsor Castle. Rosie and I met through a cycling group as well. On top of that I was doing a long of long-distance charity cycle rides. I did the Thames Bridges, London to Brighton and Pedal for Scotland to name a few. I cycled at least 4 times a week then did the strength and conditioning in the gym. Once I started working closer to home, I started cycling to and from work which could mean up to 7 days a week. For those of you who are London based sometimes cycling was the best way to get from A to B. So, as you can see, I cycled a lot.

Life got in the way

Once we had moved up to Scotland life unfortunately life got in the way, we started new jobs where the commute was much longer than 15-minute cycle. Rosie also got sick. The bikes were put at the back of the garage with a tarpaulin over them and were just “left”.

The preparation

Last Sunday after I felt like going on a cycle to see how far I could get before having to give up. I first had to get my bike out. Not an easy task as we have been using the garage as a storage area and there were hose pipes, barbecue, shelves and garden kit in front of it. I was not going to be defeated at the first hurdle. Let’s just say our garage is now re-arranged into a tidy mess now and I got to the bike. For being neglected for the last year or so it wasn’t in too bad a shape. I cleaned it up, checked and inflated the tyres, check and re-oiled it, triple checked the brakes and gave it a good once over.

Off I go

I had decided that I would go along the Forth and Clyde Canal Tow Path. I had been along parts of it before but had never done a full stretch of it. Today was the day. I started at Croy and joined the path at Auchinstarry Marina. It took a good few kilometres to get my legs into the rhythm of it all again and remember to keep my posture in the correct position as well. It took me even longer to figure out the gear system. But as the kilometres passed on, I became more comfortable and as the say I was back in the saddle (so to speak).

Before I knew it

I was at the Falkirk Wheel and had a decision to make. One way would take me to the Kelpies and the other way could take me to Linlithgow and Edinburgh. I decided on the Kelpies. Once I had got there, I thought about taking the train back home but my legs were enjoying the cycling, so I ended up cycling all the way home.

I was tired and hungry

Rosie and I have a saying: a good exercise session is where you are falling back through the front door tired, hungry but happy. And that is exactly what I did. I had cycled for around the 4-hour mark (including breaks) and I had clocked up an impressive 53 kilometres. For someone who hasn’t done that distance in a year or two I thought it was a great start.

Do something you love!

And this is my point. Go out and do what you love. Put a smile on your face, put a spring into your step and be happy.

Challenge update

We are in week 3 of the challenge. Last week I got 1063 minutes of exercise. This week is a bit of a struggle though as I have a lot of things to do which leave a lot less time for exercise. At present I am 338 minutes in. This means I have 662 minutes left (11 hours) and 4 days to do it in. I will give it my best shot but at present I think I will fall short. Time will tell, I guess.


Weekend Me Time!

This is supposed to be the time where we unwind from the week, catch up on the chores and generally get ready for the next week ahead. Unfortunately, at weekends we sometimes forget to give ourselves me time. The time we need to digest what has happened in the previous week and mentally prepare for what awaits us at our desks come the next workday morning. At weekends we spend the time tidying the house, washing the dishes, making food for the week, doing the laundry, making sure the work shirts are ironed and so on. As I have said we forget to take me time.

We forget

We forget that on the weekends our alarms do not have to go off at that crazy hour to get up for work. We forget that we can spend an extra hour in bed watching tv or having that extra cup of coffee while we look at the news or funny online videos. We can also forget to do the more fun things like, going to your favourite class at the gym, going to the cinema, meeting friends for dinner or hanging out in your pyjamas all day and eating chocolate. As I say we need to reward ourselves sometimes with the me time. That time that says well done for working that stressful week.

Time well spent

Now me time can last anywhere from an hour right through to the full weekend. It doesn’t matter how much time we put on me time just take some. Have a bubble bath with a glass of wine, stay up on Saturday night to watch one more episode on Netflix, read a book on the couch wrapped in a blanket and I am sure there are many other suggestions too.

Yesterday evening

I spent time yesterday evening trying to construct a bench for outside. It was one of those ones with loads of screws, lots of different parts and instructions which made no sense even when I did hold them the right way up. It wasn’t a sunny evening, but it was dry and warm. Now from a week which has been continually rainy and grey it made for a pleasant evening. The downside was that none of the screws seemed to fit in any of the holes they were supposed to. However, several hours later, a few swear words here and there and that one screw that seemed to be left over I finished the bench. Dinner had been and gone, it was almost dark, but I had finished the bench. It was an achievement. It will give Rosie somewhere to sit with her coffee when she needs her me time in the garden.

The main point

Here is my point, I could have waited to do the bench until there was more time, I could have waited until a better time of day and I could have waited until after dinner. But here is the main element of this blog. I love constructing things. Whether that is a bookshelf from Ikea, a tv cabinet from Argos or a garden bench for somewhere that I cannot remember. It was my me time and as I am writing this sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket watching tv it makes it all worthwhile.

Me time

However, you spent your me time just make sure it is your time. Time for you and only you.

– Helen

Breaking away

It’s about a year now since we left London for Scotland. A lot has happened in that time, and on the whole it’s all very good. I’ve had a day in the garden today, which is one of my happy places. I have a small greenhouse and quite a few plants now. There’s not really a system, I’m just doing it for fun and experimenting.

One of the big lessons I’ve learnt over the last year is the importance of having time for myself. Time to relax, drink coffee, really wind down and either do all the things I love or simply nothing at all. It’s ok to say no, in fact it’s sometimes necessary to be able to cope. Looking back, I can see how life was so busy, and the busier it got the less time I spent on me. That meant no walking, no reading, no listening to music, no days out taking photographs, and no sitting outside in the sun eating ice cream to name a few. All the things I enjoyed I stopped doing to make sure I made time for all chores and work and so on. This was a huge contribution to getting to a point where I eventually broke.

I recognise the signs now, both physically and mentally, as does Helen. I get restless and start pacing, and I can’t think logically or make any decisions. I have two places to go to at times like these: either my chair indoors if the weather is too bad or I’ll go out into the garden. They’re both my safe place, where I know nothing is expected of me and I can just be. I don’t have to do anything, just take some time out. I’m happy to say that this is happening a lot less now. I’ve learnt to make time for me every day. There are a lot of things I can do to make sure I don’t end up there again, and it’s why we want to share our experiences. For me it’s not about coping mechanisms, you need to make proper life changes in order to get rid of the bad stuff in your life. That’s what we did by leaving secure jobs in London and moving to the outskirts of Glasgow and starting new jobs. I’m not saying you have to make such drastic changes, but only you know what’s right for you. If things get too much for you and you can’t cope then you need to make changes. It’s as simple as that. One change you can do is having me time. So do it, take some time out of the day and look after yourself. Go out in the garden, sit in the sun, go for a walk, get the music on and dance around the house. You know what’s best for you, what makes you happy. Go for it!

– Rosie

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