‘My shep­herd’s hut is my bolt­hole’

When the siren call of tech­nol­ogy threat­ened to over­whelm her, Lot­tie Moore, 48, from Thame, Ox­ford­shire, found so­lace in a lit­tle wooden hut.

Prima (UK) - - Women Like You -

The first thing I do when I ar­rive at my lit­tle shep­herd’s hut is turn off my phone’s in­ter­net and switch it to silent. Then I know I can re­lax and empty my mind of all the pres­sures of work and home.

When­ever I tell peo­ple I’ve got a shep­herd’s hut, they’re al­ways re­ally in­ter­ested and usu­ally very en­vi­ous. Orig­i­nally used by shep­herds tend­ing their sheep, these days they’re very pop­u­lar as an al­ter­na­tive to a gar­den shed or sum­mer house. When I heard the busi­ness park nearby had bought two huts and placed them be­side the lake be­hind the units, I jumped at the chance to rent one. Made from wood and in­su­lated with wool, it costs £300 a month to rent. It had a lit­tle sink and seat­ing area, per­fect for my needs. I put some chairs, a desk and a rug in­side and then it was ready to use.

Dig­i­tal detox

I run my events and train­ing busi­ness from home and al­ways felt I could never es­cape the de­mands on me. If an email came in I felt like I had to deal with it im­me­di­ately or lose busi­ness. Like so many of us, I was jug­gling a

mil­lion dif­fer­ent things. We’ve all got so used to be­ing on the go all the time that we don’t re­alise how stressed and tense we are un­til we have a mo­ment to stop and re­group.

Hav­ing the shep­herd’s hut changed ev­ery­thing. At least twice a week I drive the 15 min­utes to the busi­ness park, open the doors to my hut and im­me­di­ately start to feel calm. I’m a big fan of mind­ful­ness and med­i­ta­tion, so I’ll of­ten sit and just be still, emp­ty­ing my head of thoughts. The hut has a split door and I keep the top half open so I can feel con­nected with na­ture.

Turn­ing off my phone’s in­ter­net is a huge part of re­claim­ing some head space. We’re all slaves to our phones and the ping of an email com­ing in, but I’ve learnt that when you turn it off for a few hours, life still con­tin­ues! Not hav­ing the in­ter­net for a while doesn’t im­pact my life. In fact, I’ve found I’m far more pro­duc­tive once I’ve had a dig­i­tal detox. When I turn it back on, all the emails come in at once and I can deal with them all to­gether.

Hav­ing a bolt­hole has helped at home, too. Be­fore the shep­herd’s hut, I’d of­ten tell my daugh­ter, Maddy, 18, that I was too busy or too tired. But now when I’m at home I’m fully fo­cused on her and run­ning the home. I feel much more in con­trol.

Each time I visit the hut, I try to stay for at least four hours to make sure I’ve re­con­nected with my­self and with the el­e­ments. It’s so im­por­tant to be with na­ture but it’s not al­ways easy to find the time, so my hut is ful­fill­ing all my needs.

I love it when the doors are open and I can wan­der down to the lake be­hind my hut and take in the view, but I also rel­ish the days when the rain is drum­ming down on the roof while I’m safely tucked away in­side. There in my sanc­tu­ary, I feel calm, com­posed and to­tally at peace.

‘Hav­ing the shep­herd’s hut has changed ev­ery­thing’

Lot­tie uses the space to med­i­tate

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