One of the best pieces of advice, when I had just turned professional, was to make sure I allocated some ‘me time’. "If not”, my friend said, “you may as well still be employed and have the security that that affords”. What I hadn’t realised, however, was how beneficial ‘me time’ has been to my mental health. I’ve always been an optimist, a glass half full kind of person - and I want to keep it that way.
When I was younger, mental health wasn’t really talked about - it wasn’t even a thing. But, of course, in reality, it was and is. Nowadays, it’s talked about a lot and rightly so.
This is why I now purposely allocate time to myself during the year to do what I want to do. I prefer to do this by spending some time away and do some of my own photography. It also allows me time to think and plan for the season ahead without distractions that come from being at home. I’m in my own world with my own thoughts - alone but not lonely. I love socialising and speaking to people (one of the many reasons I love this job), but I’m also comfortable in my own company.
Six months ago, I booked a time slot in my diary for some ‘me time’ this September. It didn’t matter what I was going to do or where I was going - the main thing was to allocate it in my diary, so that I didn’t fill it with other appointments. The week in question was last week and a few days before, I decided to visit the Lake District on a last-minute hotel deal for five nights. As expected, the Lakes were quiet and peaceful - a tonic for the soul.
As soon as I returned home, I allocated another week of ‘me time’ for April next year. It’s not like a holiday where I’m now yearning for that date to arrive - far from it. I just know that I’ll probably need some more ‘me time’ when it arrives to maintain my mental health.
‘Me time’ doesn’t necessarily mean being alone - it could be quite the opposite. Indeed, many clients attend my workshops for their own ‘me time’ because they enjoy the social aspect as well as the photography. ‘Me time’ can be just an hour or days - it all depends on personal circumstances, of course. However, planning is the key. So, why not consider some of your own ‘me time’ to enjoy what you want to do? Pop a future time or date in your diary and try to stick to it. During this time, do what you want to do and don’t feel guilty about it. In all likelihood, you will feel the benefit as well as those around you.
Incidentally, the images in this article are all from the aforementioned five days of ‘me time’ in the Lakes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.