The Buffer Day; Everyone Needs One!

This January I began a new tradition that I’m so pleased with, I’m going to use it forever more.

I’ve always struggled with the move from the Christmas holidays straight into school and then as I got older, straight back into work.

It seemed that there wasn’t any time to adjust from the old year to the new year as as soon as the New Year arrived it was time to return to school and straight into boring old school work.

I have always felt rushed into the coming year. I’ve tried to help this in recent years by following different coaches advice of writing goals for the coming year. For quite a few years on the shortest day I would sit and write down my dreams for the next year, yet it got harder and harder to find the enthusiasm to do it so I eventually stopped.

I moved on to a different coaches advice, which was to write down goals in January for the entire year with dates of when I wanted to have achieved everything, yet that didn’t feel right either. Suddenly I was panicking about reaching targets.

Another coach suggested writing many lists, one of something that you want to remove from your life and throw it away, one of all of your achievements from the previous year with a frightening target of at least fifty. That’s not to say I didn’t achieve fifty things I did, but the thought of the time it was going to take up just writing them down made me feel exhausted, and then finally a list of yearly goals. So before even starting I gave up!

It’s taken me until this year to finally figure out how to smoothly move from the Christmas holidays into the new year in a way that feels just right for me. A transition day or buffer day.

A day between the holidays, (though whilst I’m off, are still busy organising family events), and work. A day purely to do things to soothe my busy mind, relax and gently focus my brain on the next few days, months and the year.

As soon as I had made the decision that I was going to implement a transition day I felt a weight lift from my mind. My transition day was yesterday, after my husband had gone to work I did sit and write a few things for the year that I want to achieve. It helped me to clear my mind and then focus.

Then, even though the temperatures had suddenly dropped from spring like figures to just above freezing, I went out to do some photography. I put on plenty of layers, took a flask of tea in the car with me and a snack and spent a couple of hours, the hottest part of the day, out in the countryside exploring an old photography shooting spot and had a wonderful time.

Beeston Castle in the snow.For 2022 I put together some of my favourite photos and created a calendar yet January’s picture created a mystery. I couldn’t remember exactly where I had taken the image from. I couldn’t decide if I had climbed on a gate, taken my tripod – which would indeed be a rare day for me – or walked across a farmer’s field.

After a bit of driving around, I found the spot I thought it was, jumped out, took some photos, then I moved a bit further down the road and was sure I’d definitely found the spot this time. Distant view of Beeston Castle across a field.Then quite by chance I took a different road, and there it was, the open field where I had stopped and captured it.  Though as the eagle eyed will see, this was taken with my phone rather than the camera that I took the snowy scene with, so when I return to start the seasonal exercise, I will go with my real camera and get a close up image similar to the original.

Beeston Castle across fields

The magic spot.

This time I also took a photo of the location too so I know where to stop next time, as I have decided, that for this year it’s going to become a little project for me. I and most probably my husband, as his architectural photography is far better than mine, as I prefer the landscape scenes, will return throughout the seasons and capture it from the same spot and see what changes occur.  

I returned home from my photography session relaxed, inspired and at peace, and was ready and raring to go today to return to the office. So much so that I will always make sure that after any holiday I have a transition/buffer day to reintegrate gently into work and serve those I help better.

I think we could all do with a transition day between holidays and work and probably even between work and holidays. If you do decide to create your own, make sure that you do something purely for you, something that soothes and lifts your spirits, so that you have the mental and physical energy to go forward in your coming days joyfully and calmly.