By Bryony Enright, Postgraduate Faculty Employability Consultant, Careers Service
I recently took part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. This happens once a year during January and involves individuals, couples and families all over the UK watching the birds in their garden or from their window for an hour. The idea is to count the birds you see and enter how many of what you saw on the RSPB website. It provides important data for conservation and species numbers within the UK.
I took part for an hour one Saturday when my son was napping. I sat with a coffee and some old binoculars and watched the starlings, wood pigeons and – would you believe it – a blackcap (!) for a blissful hour. It was wonderful. It was the calmest and most at peace I’ve felt for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I stopped and took a whole hour for myself to do something other than watch TV.
I was so affected by the positive impact this hour staring out of the window had on the rest of my weekend that I’ve started embracing more staring out of the window during my working week. I desperately feel the need to look away from the screen, to switch off and embrace the quiet. Life with a toddler is noisy! I’ve brought my binoculars upstairs and they sit next to me on my desk. I can see the top of a hawthorn from my spare bedroom where I work. There is currently a crow on next door’s roof and a couple of sparrows hopping about (not everyday can be a blackcap day). I’ve also started to buy more and more elaborate bird feed to try and encourage different species.
I used to feel guilty for drifting off during working from home, losing concentration and staring out of the window, but now I embrace this mindful practice as an important way to calm my frazzled brain. I often end a Zoom meeting with a good ten minutes staring out of the window. I plan on taking another hour for myself this weekend to look at the birds and reconnect with some inner peacefulness.