|Antonio Machado’s Andalusia. From flickr.com|
After an endless stream of presentations, translations, meetings, and seminars, I had a bit of a meltdown on Thursday. To be honest, I had one on Wednesday too: I woke up and my head was screaming “DON’T DO IT, STAY IN BED!”. I managed to fight through that and attend two seminars and a meeting, but on Thursday my inner-self concerned with my wellbeing was having none of it. I can tell that a day isn’t worth pursuing when I can’t stop crying, noises make me jump more than usual, and I hate everybody. It’s not pretty in the slightest.
The part of Thursday that I was most stressed about was the group presentation I was to do late morning. I texted another group member to say I wouldn’t be able to attend, and she still hasn’t replied (oh dear). I’m glad that I didn’t push myself, however; it’s not worth putting my health at risk.
Although I skipped that seminar, I did go to my 9am Spanish lecture the same day. I’m glad that I did too, as the lecturer of this module – on The Generation of 1898 – is a certain supporter of bibliotherapy! We’re currently studying Antonio Machado’s Campos de Castilla collection.
The Thursday lecture focused particularly on a lovely poem called Recuerdos, in which Machado mourns Soria, a city in north-central Spain in which he once lived. A week after his wife died of TB, he felt he could no longer live in Soria, and left for Andalusia Machado writes about the gloomier landscape of Soria whilst looking out his window at the bountiful, flourishing Andalusian countryside. Here’s the first stanza of the poem, which I’ve very loosely translated:
The poem is so beautifully written, and you can’t help wanting to see similar views, flowers, and animals. During this lecture, I decided that I needed more time outside and in nature. I was too caught up with my desire for isolation and peace to spent time getting fresh air, and when I was outside I was distracted by anxieties. On the way back from my lecture, I paid more attention to the colours of trees and the crunchiness of the leaves lining flowerbeds and paths. It’s a beautiful time of year, and by paying proper attention to the state of nature surrounding you, you can do great things for your wellbeing. So many studies have certified the benefits of “ecotherapy” on mental health, particularly if you’re affected by depression.
Therefore, I’ve come up with the following action plan (I love a good list):
- Wear less products with SPF protection. Judging by how I usually mix spf40 primer, spf15 moisturiser, and spf15 tinted moisturiser, it’s no surprise that I feel in need of sun. I do supplement with Vitamin D (although probably not enough), but getting some from the direct source would be handy.
- Walk to places where there are trees, not shops. Chris is staying for the week as of this afternoon, and we’re planning to spend a few days in Corwnwall – this will be the perfect opportunity!
- Take better care of my plants. My mighty cheese plant and withering herbs could do with a little extra love.
- Visit the gardens and ponds on campus. I’m very lucky to go to a university with a campus that makes you feel like you’re in Center Parcs. Despite the rapidly lowering temperatures, it will be easy to have a break on a bench away from the usual hustle and bustle.