I just completed my first week housesitting in Devonshire. This place is truly magical. I am posting a video below of a wild baby horse that I was able to greet during a hike. His/her hair was so soft and fluffy, loving some scritches. There are 50+ wild horses in the area and many of them are approachable. They don’t have any reason to fear humans. There aren’t many locals and those that do hike here, an area called The Moors, don’t give them any trouble. It’s such a beautiful experience. I’ve also been getting back in shape by doing yoga everyday in addition to hiking and running. Yes, running! The trails and roads here are very different than any place I’ve been in England. There are mountains and steep hills. It reminds me a little of Colorado in that regard. My body feels as if it has suddenly come back to life. I feel sore in the morning, it feels amazing! Funny thing to say, but I’m sure you can relate. Our bodies thrive on movement. We know this inherently even if we refuse to glance in that direction. In my case, I was deeply loyal to my depression which caused me to be more sedentary. This continued for several years and before I knew it, I had gained over 30 pounds! Don’t get me wrong, I love my figure. I think I look great whether I weight 130 or 170 pounds. But this also made it conveniently easy for me to ignore what truly nourishes my body and sustains happiness. Now I see exercise as a form of self love. Instead of being resistant or rolling my eyes at the people that kill themselves at the gym, I have accepted that movement is what my body needs to flourish. Of course, physical activity comes much easier when instead of a job I have a charming and energetic Vizsla, named Amber, who requires at least 90 minutes of exercise every day. After spending the past 14 years locked in a cubicle, I broadly comprehend these activity barriers.
In addition to exercise, I have also been filling my days with cooking, creating the perfect face serum and filling the house with delightful music. I am truly living in abundance. It’s hard to believe I will be here for another 6 weeks. Amber’s parents are taking a 7-week long vacation to Australia and New Zealand. I am very happy to spend the holidays right here in this cozy home. The house is a converted barn that is divided between three connected houses. The owners have done quite a bit of renovations. The most impressive is installing a completely renewable form of heating through ground source heat pumps. I’m not sure if this is possible in the US as I’ve only just been introduced to it. Pipes are buried under the garden to extract heat from the ground which remains a fairly constant temperature year round. The heat is then transferred to the radiators which can be adjusted manually. What a great feeling to be using plenty of heat every day without the carbon footprint. Apparently the system requires almost no maintenance as well. Before the owners left they encouraged me to crank it up as much as I want. Something that I’ve never been advised on a housesit. 🙂
Another thing that brings me contentment is writing about mental illnesses on a variety of different sites and blogs. I enjoy normalizing and bringing comfort and encouragement to others who are currently struggling. It’s pretty well-known that this time of year brings a person’s state of sadness up to the surface. Often times their friends or families have no idea they are living in utter turmoil and reaching out anonymously is their only act of self preservation. I used to dread the holidays. It felt like a really big magnifying glass that displayed how alone I felt to the entire world. I felt bad for dwelling over the past 4 or 5 Christmas’s for receiving my main presents from work colleagues. Then I would feel shame for pitying myself while so many people got so much less. Not to forget a splash of self-resentment for diverting my energy to a time of year that went from pagan holiday to materialist phenomena. I am incredibly gratified to be on the other side of this and am happy to bring any sort of alleviation to those still trying to cope. If there’s someone you know that might be struggling this holiday season. Please, reach out to them with a gift and a card or even just a note. Letting them know you care will go far and they may even be grateful to you for years to come. We’re all here together and it feels incredible supporting one another.