Sometimes the best thing you can do is run away
The title of this article may sound like the opposite of the type of advice we're usually given when it comes to getting through a rough patch. Usually we are encouraged to stay strong, battle through, face our fears, and all that sort of thing. I guess in some situations this can work, and the majority of the time I do try to do this myself. However, over the weekend just gone (December 2–4), I packed up a few clothes and my partner, and we left Auckland behind to explore New Plymouth. And I have got to say that I have returned a much healthier and happier person.
On day one of my weekend (about an hour into my usual work day) I got work phone calls, and I can tell you it felt absolutely wonderful to be able to reply and say I wasn't working and then get on with my switched-off weekend. That's my first piece of advice. If you're needing to escape and revitalise, then become 100% inaccessible. You can't truly unwind and relax if you've always got one eye on the phone or on your email inbox. I didn't even take my laptop with me on this trip, that's how much I wanted to escape!
After that minor speed bump, it was all relaxation time. We explored Mount Taranaki, we ventured to the Puke Ariki museum and learnt all about Tamanui — the last Taranaki kokako. We visited friends, went out for dinner, walked around the coast, and just generally had an amazing time. New Plymouth is such a cool place. It's got literally everything you could possibly need without the awful traffic. When we visited my friend at her new house (she recently shifted from Auckland to New Plymouth), I was absolutely blown away by the size of her house. She has bought herself a five-bedroom place with a massive backyard — something absolutely unheard of for someone our age back here in Auckland. It's incredible! Makes me wonder why we fret and panic over buying houses in Auckland when we could just be leaving the concrete jungle behind (because, let's be honest, it's not actually an overly gorgeous state of living when you're jam-packed in amongst each other like sardines).
Returning to Auckland on Sunday was a bitter-sweet experience if I'm completely honest. I love my house as we're lucky enough to have that non-sardine lifestyle — a 100-year-old-plus villa with a decent backyard and beautiful garden. However, knowing I was returning to my hectic schedule was definitely a major mood dampener.
With Christmas holidays just around the corner, now's the time to get those new year resolutions set up and establish a relaxed routine for as long as you can! I know being less stressed is a priority for me for 2017, and I will be doing a lot more running away!