Take one glum woman. Dip her in the cold sea a few times then plunge her into the icy waters of the Ladies Pond on Hampstead Heath so she can float around with the leaves and the ducks.
Encourage her – in a last ditch attempt to lift her spirits naturally and avoid the pills she doesn’t want to take – to love and nurture herself above all else.
Persuade her it’s time she faced her fears, confronted her ambivalence and committed to giving a relationship a shot.
Pack her off to the countryside to get on with writing her much talked-about book.
Walk her along a wooded river bank every morning, surrounded by cows and sheep, and sit her on a bench to soak up the peace.
Feed her home-cooked nourishing meals and delicious gluten-free snacks.
Warm her heart with great company and conversation by a roaring log fire.
Then sprinkle an afternoon of body boarding in frothy surf on top.
What do you get?
One happy woman. One happy woman who can’t believe her luck.
I would prescribe the above rescue remedy to anyone who feels sad or stuck.
The combination of regular autumn dips, walks in Nature, time out of London and making a commitment to myself (to put my health and happiness first), to a man (to give ‘us’ my best shot) and to my book (to sit down and write it) has brought me to a place where I’m no longer wondering ‘how on earth did I end up here?’ or trying to figure out why my life hasn’t gone to plan.
Instead, I’m feeling blessed and exactly where I’m meant to be.
The answer, it seems, is simple.
I just have to follow my heart, and put the chatter in my head on mute.
My heart wanted two weeks out of London. My heart wanted to try to love and be loved. My heart wanted to spend time at this wonderful Devon writers’ retreat (Retreats For You – I can’t recommend it highly enough: wonderful hosts, great food, inspiring writers, beautiful surroundings, a hot water bottle in your bed every night and a gentle, nurturing atmosphere that feeds your creativity, and your soul, and compels you to write).
My head said I had too much going on in London to take the time out, that it would be foolish to give the relationship a shot and that this retreat was a luxury I couldn’t afford and didn’t deserve, that I should save my money for something else.
My heart was right.
Go heart! (Be quiet, head).