As I reluctantly strip down to my bikini and slide into the crisp water of the swimming pool, my rounded shoulders feel heavy with the weight of the world.
My mind is racing, distracted. I have so much to do. I can barely breathe I have so much to do, yet I know in my heart and mind that the most important thing for me to do is swim.
I put on my goggles, take a breath and push off the pool wall. The first few laps are rushed, frantic even. I’m sure onlookers would see a fury of water around me as I pummel my way down the pool. Thoughts relentlessly dart through my mind threatening to drown me until out of nowhere comes the reprieve. I find my rhythm, I slow down. I shift my thoughts from the chaos of life to focus on my stroke, my kick, the quiet. Instead of feeling heavy with the weight of the world on my shoulders, I feel weightless in the water.
As I finish my laps, I reluctantly hop out of the pool. Exhausted, but refreshed I wrap my towel around me and walk home dripping wet. The droplets of water on my skin a reminder of calm. My ‘me’ time. My new weekly ritual.
I don’t know whether it’s the time of year or not, but life feels full on. Work is crazy busy and home life is equally crazy. It’s as though someone has cranked life up to full throttle and we’re racing toward Christmas and the end of the year.
Lately I have felt constantly on the go. I’m always watching the clock and planning my next move. While I used to be that little duck on the pond looking serene and calm, while my feet work fast below me, I now feel like my feathers are getting ruffled and my legs are moving at the speed of light, but I’m getting nowhere.
I have been slipping lately. Last week I forgot to pack my one-year-old’s food for the day, I was in tears over a lost purse which turned up in my handbag that I’d searched sixty times, and a friend chatted to me about an email that I had no recollection of sending them. While I’m not 100 % certain I don’t have the early onset of dementia, I can only put these slip ups down to me rushing around like a lunatic, doing too much, and not taking care of me.
My solution is my new Sunday ritual, my swim. It is my time to find the peace I crave, even if it is only for 30 minutes. On evenings like yesterday’s when I face, after a hectic day at work, sick children, hunger strikes, fighting siblings, and a poo in the bath, I know that if I remain strong and calm I will have my reward at the end of the week. It is this ritual that keeps me sane and powering on to the end of the year.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with life as the end of the year nears? What keeps you sane?