Culture 28/05/2021 Nigel Ritchie

Nigel Ritchie: Prioritising my Mental Wellbeing

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Echo Creative Director Nigel Ritchie shared the time he took for himself away from the desk to revitalize his creative juices. With lockdown lifting, prioritising our mental wellbeing is of the utmost importance.

It is no secret that lockdown has been a challenging time for many. I decided early on that there were some things that were within my control and many others that were not. Whilst grappling with the complexities of working and consulting from home, I decided to continue my passion for roaming – albeit a tad more local than I would have liked!

Rising very early every day gave me the chance to appreciate my locale and to occasionally record that moment on my phone. I started to plot a 40-minute stroll that soon became the norm. The more I walked the same route the more I started to notice the detail in everything – the incredible emerging dawn light, the back lit trees against the skyline and the wonderful sound of the birds.

I would often see people at the same time and offer a metaphorical distanced doff of the hat. Sometimes this would become a short conversation. Along my route I would see the same dramatic profile of an unfinished house. A victim of Covid, all construction ceased, skeletal in form and seemingly frozen in time. Bleak maybe but I thought rather beautiful and uplifting in a noir kind of way.

I would then drop by my tennis club and sometimes just stand on the empty courts and watch the sunrise, longing for the day I could get back on court.

Further on, I was always amused by the wit employed by my local cinema who seemed to regularly change their signage to suit the circumstances. The empty theatre would always be lit up against the emerging sky providing a powerful symbol of hope and defiance…the show will most definitely still go on.

Not content with dawn I decided to give dusk a good dusting off and now do the same walk every evening. Metronomic maybe but still very different to dawn and a whole new crowd to smile at as I stroll along.

I have experienced elation, happiness, fear, sadness and deep-seated grief over the past year but can honestly say that taking some personal time to get your head and heart in a good place is absolutely worth it – come rain or shine.