• February 15, 2016

    Being guilt-free (for a bit anyway)

    Back in January, I wrote about why we should make 2016 guilt-free. It was purely opinion-based – there was no research or experts backing it up because, well, permission about whether or not to take time out for ourselves shouldn’t come from a study, it should from us. So I felt it, believed it, wrote it. But then I actually lived it.

    When I wrote that post, the main thing that kept coming back to me was that I never took days out to explore anymore. Days off were spent sleeping or doing housework or doing the appointments round (the doctor, dentist, hairdresser, beautician all crammed into one day); necessities not treats. So I decided to practice what I’d preached and booked 3 days off work to explore London.

    I’ve lived in London for 2 years and although when I first moved down I was busy seeing the sights, since I got a full-time job I haven’t done much of thatl. So I sat down and thought of the places I wanted to see in the Big Smoke, the areas I’d never been and the museums I’d walked past with the intention of visiting but hadn’t made the time. Until now.

    The other main criteria on my list were 1) don’t be constrained by time – I didn’t want to be rushing around from one place to the next – and 2) don’t get tempted to do any housework. Priorities.

    And I succeeded (well, almost). I went to the Cartooon Museum, the British Museum, the Brands, Packaging and Advertising Museum, Hatchards (a really old and fancy book shop on Piccadilly), I strolled down New Bond Street, explored Liberty and took the time to admire the building. I sat in a cafe and read my book. I went to Portobello Market and saw the bookshop from Notting Hill (cue: much excitement). And I went to the theatre, alone. I also went to the dentist and got an appointment with my beautician, but no-one’s perfect.

    It was an indulgent couple of days and I’m privileged that I was able to take the time off to do it, but I also wanted to prove a point to myself: that I shouldn’t feel guilty about doing what I want to do. Did I enjoy being a tourist? Yes. Did I Hoover an inch of carpet? No. Do I regret that? No way.

    My point is that taking time out for you shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice and whether your treat is visiting the city you live in or getting your nails done regularly or reading a book a weekend, do it. Please. It feels good, it make you happy and in turn, I promise you, it makes you a better, nicer, friendlier person.


    Stephanie Bolton


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