I am only working half-days this week as I am about to start a new job.
So far in my afternoons off I have been shopping, watched the Christopher Robin film and eaten out.
Yesterday I tried bouldering for the first time. It is surprisingly harder than climbing with ropes. You have to hold your weight up with your arms at times and climb down once you are at the summit, if you can.
I wanted to do climbing with an automatic belay, but unfortunately my demonstration was too rocky. I had forgotten how to put a harness on, so I was not allowed.
I managed to do the easiest route, but that was hard enough. Those are the blue chunks you can see on the picture. After an hour, my limbs were aching and I was tired. Climbing is a full-body workout and tones you all over. It is also good for stretching out your back if you get backache. I watched an instructor nimbly demonstrate with ease, bulging biceps and incredible flexibility as she flung herself around like a spider, hugging the fake rock.
The session was only £8 as I still get student rate. It was £10 standard price.
Some use bouldering as therapy and you can even get it prescribed by a doctor. This could be because it allows you to concentrate solely on your route, the location of your hands and feet and your next move. It is a form of mindfulness – being present in the moment.
I then went to netball and we won the match. It was a great feeling because we fought so hard for it. I had the advantage, as my opponent was smaller and slower.
Get down to your local bouldering wall and have a go!
“Musical” wrote the piano examiner and I nervously represented my teacher at a pupils concert. When I was a baby I had a piece composed for me because I would stop crying whenever my parents’ friend played the grand. Today I was reminded what an emotional difference it can make.
My parents were being negative at each other and I’d tried unsuccessfully to intervene. Suddenly I decided why not play some tunes. I’m not talking about turning on the radio and cranking it up – our tastes are completely different and this would probably have exacerbated tensions. But we all love the sound of the piano. So while they separately sulked I played dad’s favourite composer – Mozart. Then I played one of mum’s favourite tunes by Ludovico Einaudi, who I am exited to be seeing live next week.
By the end of the pieces mum and dad were still in different rooms but both were smiling and looked more relaxed. The power of music astonishes me. When you’re tense it helps you relax, you can express your feelings and it’s a tremendous release. But it also has a ripple effect amongst your audience – as the sound washes through them you often see them sharing the mood. It allows you to take a step back from your busy life and lose yourself, even just for a moment.
Playing an instrument has been proven to be good for the brain, increasing intelligence. It has been shown to increase IQ by seven points, so it’s good not just for relaxing your mind when you study. The piano is my constant companion. Unlike man’s best friend the dog, it needs no feeding or expensive vets bills, just the occasional tuning. It may be but an object, but it is always there for you no matter how you’re feeling. Reading music is a skill for life and an instrument can be yours forever. When I was younger, piano lessons and practice were chores. But now I am pleased my parents encouraged me. The foundations were laid for me to build on and the better you get, the more engaging the manuscript.
Music can unite, it’s a common language and says so much more than words. So if you’re feeling angry, if you’re feeling upset, listen to some upbeat music or play a piece you can get lost in. It won’t solve deep-rooted problems but it will help you deal with them better.