When I was editor of Cosmopolitan my assistant Lucy used to book me out for 15 minutes either side of all my appointments. She did this off her own back. I asked her why one day. “So you have a buffer,” she said. By which she meant, so you have time to go to the loo, eat something, draw breathe and scratch my inner left elbow between what were often back-to-back meetings.
To this day I buffer. I actively set aside pauses in my day – 15-20 minutes at a time – to breathe and scratch my inner elbow. Lucy – thank you for instilling the idea!
I don’t like the feeling of being tugged all day, being a passive passenger to the capricious winds of others’ needs, emails, noises and distractions. I have a tendency to be the dry, fluttery leaf that follows the whirly-whirly of life’s demands. I’m easily caught up. But I want to be more solid. The original tree trunk in the equation. Not entirely unflappable, but with an immovable, safe home base to come back to.
I have often stressed the importance of creating space (not just time) in your day, in your life, in your cells. Space allows us to expand, to get steady, like the roots of a tree. Space enables wellness, for it’s the constriction in our cells that causes disease and pain.
And I’ve made it one of my missions to emphasise with everyone I care about (you!) that we are the only ones who can take charge and do our own rooting. We don’t all have Lucys in our lives.