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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Doing More Things: a happiness project of sorts

Lately, I've been trying to be more present, do more family things, that kind of stuff. It's definitely working. I'm seeing the benefits in my own health (especially in terms of stress-related issues) as well as in that of the family. Here are some recent highlights:

Saturday mornings at the zoo

We joined Twycross Zoo's 'Friends' programme last summer and are now into our second year of membership. This month, they started a Junior Friends scheme where the kids spend two hours on activities with Education Officers, while we wander round the zoo for a bit (and sample the fabulous cooked breakfasts...). I think the kids' highlight so far has been making papier mache pinatas to stuff with lemur treats. I've been really impressed with the activities and it's a great start to the weekend.

Prioritising walks

With two lively dogs (a terrier and a lurcher), a day without walking is never possible, but I have in the past been guilty of letting dear hubby take them on his own so I could get some work done. I always knew, of course, that a good walk is a brilliant way of taking a break as it can recharge and refresh, but when you're struggling to get everything done it can be hard. No more, though - me and my health first, then work. (And of course, work often improves too when you actually take care of yourself...)

A positive to-do list

This is an idea I got from the blogosphere somewhere (I'm really sorry I don't recall where exactly), but it worked really well for us this summer. At the start of the summer holidays, we each made a list of things we wanted to do during the break. We pinned it up on the calendar board and used it for inspiration to avoid frittering away the summer. Not that we had no down time, or ran ourselves ragged! It's all too easy to get to the end of the summer holidays and realise that you haven't done anything special - this list helped us escape that feeling. Isn't it ridiculous that we need reminding that we want to do fun things? But still, having recognised that, we were able to act on it. It's definitely an approach I'd use again.


  1. What a great idea! Good luck with it. I remember Keris Stainton posted a photo of her summer to-do list a few months ago and it was such a pretty thing as well as a great idea that I knew I wanted to do something similar.

    I love the zoo! We had an annual pass to Whipsnade a few years ago and it was lovely everytime we went to visit. I miss it.

    The boys now both have bikes and N and I were thinking of spending more time in the forests around where we live cycling together. It seems like such a nice idea, I'm not sure why it's taken so long to get around and start doing it!

  2. Good post Beth. I stand firmly by my 'Goal' lists, and always include happy stuff, as well as exercise, along with what I need to do.

    Good idea to have a seasonal list I think...


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