A Mindful Bank Holiday

This weekend is a Bank Holiday in Ireland and, whilst before the pandemic we mostly spent these weekends in the pubs, things have changed quite a lot now.

I’ve always been a huge lover of nature and the outdoors. I love to feel connected with the world and favour spots like wooded and coastal areas to parks. Yesterday, my SO and I went to Doneraile Park for a walk. We tend to venture the coast most days we go out for a walk so it was nice to go somewhere else for a change.

Doneraile is a town in North Cork that has a pretty expansive park. I wore the wrong clothes, and footwear, for such a long walk and have an aching baby toe that isn’t thanking me for it today. However, the place was so beautiful that I really don’t mind!

When we arrived at the park it was, as we say in our native tongue “dubh le daoine” – aka, very, very busy! As a natural worrier, and given our current pandemic circumstances, I was reluctant to go in. The playground was overcrowded. Kids were literally hanging off one another. The pathways had queues of people waiting to pass one another. It felt like there was a concrete block in my chest; it was tight and heavy and I was finding a bit hard to breathe. After a while we decided to go in and once we got past the mayhem at the entrance, we went off the beaten track and soaked in our surroundings.

Being in the park made me extremely happy. I noticed a substantial change in my mood once we got past the crowds. The sounds of the wind in the trees, the birds calling out to one another, and the wind rustling made me feel so grounded. I held my SOs hand and felt truly calm and at peace. We trekked up a high walkway and got caught under the trees in the rain – a very romantic situation to find ourselves in! When we got to the highest point in our walk, we looked across the greenery and took in the scenery around us. A large house lay in the distance with many fields around it, some with deer and other wildlife. There were rivers running through the land and many beautiful bridges to cross. For the first time in a long time I felt truly present.

Deer in Doneraile

Having truly enjoyed the peace that the walk brought me, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to get out for an hours walk every day from here until the end of the month. Yes it will have its benefits on my physical health, but it will work wonders for my mental health. As the return to school date creeps up slowly, I know that I will need something to help me cope with the stress and anxiety that I will indubitably feel. From my post on August 1st, I want to “make this a month on finding more tools to switch off, to relax, and to detach”, and I really do believe that walking is one of my key tools in doing this.

Today, I went for a walk around my locality. I threw on my headphones and listened to a podcast by Síle Seoige called Ready to be Real. In the episode I listened to, she interviewed my favourite comedian Tommy Tiernan. In it, Tommy said many things that made me smile, and many that made me think. One of which went like this “one of the questions we must continue to ask ourselves is ‘is your life still an adventure.'” This really sat with me. Only the other day I sat with a friend and discussed how I feel like life is missing it’s novelty at the moment. Granted, there is very little that we can be doing considering that we are all trying to be mindful of Covid-19, but I do feel like we need to actively pursue things that are new and different in order to make life interesting and fun.

Butterflies from this mornings walk.

My SO & I recently purchased and moved into our first home. We’re not here too long, but I’ve found us sliding into routines. Each evening after our dinner we will migrate to the living room and throw on the TV until it is time for bed. This is not the life that I want us to be living. Life goes by much too quickly for us to spend our time sitting in front of the TV. Although it is hard to do so with the restrictions that we are all now facing due to Covid, I want our relationship to be full of fun, romance, and adventure. We weren’t here to be ordinary and to watch life float by, we’re here to love fully, live bravely, and dare greatly – and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Until next time,
C x

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