Make the most of yourself… for that is all there is of you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If there’s one thing I learned this year, and I can say with confidence there were many, it’s the importance of taking good care of yourself. Not remembering to floss each day (though I firmly believe in keeping those whites sparkling.) I’m referring to taking care of yourself in a more thoughtful and meaningful way; In a way that allows you to do all of the marvelous things that make you you.
This means, on your busiest day, making a conscious decision to find time for yourself. Take a step back, ask yourself what you need in this moment, and go about pursuing that. If your first thought is, “I need a vacation,” that’s likely not something for which you can immediately reach. Nor is a new pair of shoes. Chocolate, however, is always an option. A breath of fresh air has been known to work wonders. And a good laugh is never more than a click away.
This also means, on your best day, when you have a little extra spring in your step, making that same decision to put yourself first, saying to yourself, “I’m going to take care of myself because, well, I deserve to!”
Sometimes we just need a quick fix – a simple remedy that will allow us to refocus or reengage. But such quick fixes are simply that: quick. Taking care of yourself in a more lasting and meaningful way, is about learning what encompasses your strengths, allows you to be caught up in the moment, and produces a sense of wholeness or gratification first, and relief second.
This past year, I was fortunate to uncover a number of those things for myself. Curling up with a good book, writing, and going out with camera in hand are but a few. I discovered my quick fixes too – they include copious amounts of tea and hot baths. I’m learning that how I take care of myself when I’m tired looks different from when I’m stressed, and different still when I’m happy. I’m learning what works and what doesn’t, and that even this can vary day-to-day.
Taking care of ourselves is an investment; Of our time, of our energy, and of our resources. It is one that too often falls by the wayside, in favor of whatever is considered most pressing in our lives at the moment. But what is more urgent than our own well-being? Think of how much depends on it.
It has been, in my experience, an investment well worth making. Not only for all of the benefits it affords, but also for the ways through which it can allow us to come to know ourselves better. That is a journey for which there appears no end in sight.