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  • jane anderson

Spending, Investing or just Killing Time?

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

Time passes anyway so we might as well use it productively as waste it, because it will never come round again. Extracting the best from whatever life throws at you is key.

Here's a way to wile away a few lockdown hours.

Take the morning to thoroughly pressure-clean your patio and surrounding footpaths and when it's drying nicely, drop a full tin of expensive and elusive garden paint over it. Then spend a further hour or two cleaning it up while trying not to use too much costly tap water or trample it round the rest of the garden or through the house.

Challenge yourself further by ensuring your ancient hose only reaches to the edge of the patio while doing your best not to coat your few precious bedding plants in a veil of periwinkle blue or disturb the blackbird nesting just a metre away from you.

Remember, you only have a few sheets of hoarded kitchen towel to mop up two and half litre’s worth of paint so make them last and try to ignore the holes in the tips of your gardening gloves. The gaffer tape you tried to mend them with hasn't really done the job and you seem to have what like frostbitten finger ends but in fact it's just more periwinkle stain.

Do your best to chortle along with neighbours who are only having a joke about the blue language coming over the fence, entreating you not to be blue, and suggesting you're indulging in blue sky thinking in hoping you'll ever get rid of those marks from the concrete. They mean well.

Eventually give in to your fate with Zen-like acceptance and put all thoughts of your own-working To Do list out of your mind for the duration. Endless outdoor cleaning has taken its place. God has laughed at your plans for the day and all you can do is deal with your new imperative with grace and equanimity.

Practising composure does not come naturally to most people however, me included. It's easier to default to a temper tantrum (completely futile and not very nice to be around) or cave in to gloom and despair (see tempter tantrum) when times get tough.

But self-command and adaptability are skills worth developing. We all need people who can keep a clear head in times of trouble. Small upsets like paint upsets are worth trying to view as opportunities for character strengthening and preparation for dealing with life's more major issues. Their value is cumulative. Your approach becomes increasingly phlegmatic and your ability to master adversity and demonstrate fortitude can offer a model for others. And we all need role models.

As the poet Ovid said, Be patient, be tough, one day this pain will be useful to you.

Breathe photo by Kyndall Ramirez

Up to 40% funding towards the cost of implementing the Staff Wellbeing Framework Model and/or other JCA Consult Ltd services focusing on staff wellbeing and engagement, and retention (including coaching and mentoring) may be available to eligible organisations as I am a registered Provider for NBSL’s North East Business Support Fund helping businesses to improve their competitiveness.

For further information and to complete the 15 minute application form:

Northumberland and Tyne and Wear:

Jane Anderson PhD specialises in Sociospacial Reciprocity and Place Therapy. She's been working in wellbeing for nigh on 30 years and is especially interested in the people-place relationship and how it underpins all other aspects of staff engagement and wellbeing. Her Staff Wellbeing Framework Model is now charter-marked for quality assurance. / 07742942651

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