After 22 days of working non-stop (for three weekends in a row, I attended conferences every Saturday, every Sunday) I thought it was time for a break. I took  a day off. I called it a Mental Health Day and I didn’t go to work.

What a treat.

I love my job, my office, my colleagues and the work that I do. But WOW. I loved today.

I woke late and moved slowly through the usual routines: getting Moy Moy up and bathed and dressed; packing her bag, organizing her lunch and sending her off to college. Breakfast with Ravi, tidying our room and making the bed (with him), sorting the laundry.

Once he left for his office, I had the house to myself (Indian style).

I took my shower as quickly as possible: the whole morning to myself!

A walk to the bank because I needed a bit of cash. I sauntered along, conscious of how different the world looks when everyone else is hurrying to get to work on time.

I met two old men on my way – the same old men I meet every day on my way to my office. Today – who knows why? – they stopped me and asked: “So you are on your way to the temple?”

I just smiled. They smiled back.

When I got home from the bank, pockets full of cash, I made a cappuccino and sat down in the garden. I had a book to read and the garden was sunny and bright. Unfamiliar, but also like something I could get used to. I kept stopping to look out over the lawn (a small lawn).

My shoes were all dusty from the walk to the bank. I had time. I polished them.

There were flowers in bloom. I had time. I gathered them into a small bouquet and I put them into a little purple vase on the table.

Small bouquet of yellow and purple flowers

Lunch with Ravi (home from his office) and Mummy (emerged from her room).

Ravi went back to work; Mummy went back to her room (her students would start arriving in minutes). I headed off to the Forest Research Institute. We are so lucky to live so close to this place. I go as often as I possibly can. Walking in the midst of these trees and this silence is the most amazing gift I can imagine.

Sheafs of bamboo stalks with shoots of green on top

I listened to the sound of the breeze moving through these branches, these trunks, these leaves, and I stood there in thinking about how small we all are in comparison. I walked nine miles yesterday and when I got home at last I realized why Mental Health Days are so important.

Please take one next week. You may not realize it yet, but you need it. You really do.

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