Pottering: A Cure for Modern Life
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While I'd never have categorised it in those terms myself they make perfect sense as do the examples and explanations the author gives for each point. When you potter, there’s no where to get to. Nothing to achieve. The aim of the game is to slow down and enjoy doing one activity at a time. Make do with what you’ve got. When you live simply, you are resourceful; improvising and compromising with whatever you have to hand, from putting together a lunch using the contents of your fridge to creating entertainment out of paper and pencils. This means making the best of your situation, as well as the things that surround you.
Whil e pottering results in a constructive, physical outcome (you may have given a bag of clothes to charity or there may be a cake on the table), it’s the “mental rumination” that occurs during pottering that McGovern believes is beneficial to wellbeing. The effect for her was a change in mindset that enabled her to move on from the impasse she had reached in her career.The consequence of pottering – a feeling of relaxation and contentment- is usually achieved when you make do with what you’ve got, get moving but don’t go too far, don’t try too hard and keep it digital free.” I find I'm happiest and more relaxed when I've spent a day pottering around the house so I guess my take away from reading this book is I need to switch off the electronics a little more often and just potter! I'd be happier and more content for doing so.
But we’re not so good at taking time out for ourselves. And it costs us. There is plenty of research to show overwork is bad for your health (see here, here and here). I saw this book in a gift shop on Maui and jotted down the title--not a book I need to own, but one I definitely wanted to read. The library got it for me and it is a *very* charming exploration of how to "potter about" (what Americans might more readily call "puttering"). McGovern's five guidelines for pottering each form the basis of a subsequent chapter: It’s time to dial down the noise in your life and brain. Keeping away from your phone, Netflix and social media will help. As McGovern states:
Pottering is not about pressure, it's not supposed to be stressful, it's a productive calming activity.