Many of us lead busy lives, and we like it that way. Being always on the go feels good, like something is being accomplished. We feel energized, productive. But to what end are we racing?
I recently reached a big goal in my life that I’d been working to achieve for nearly seven years. My finish line had been so concrete, so unwavering. I saw it and kept moving in its direction, step by step. The clarity of the goal served as motivation, and helped me continue on what was an often-frustrating path filled with obstacles. And what did I do when I finally reached this self-imposed finish line? I just kept on running.
A few days afterwards I came across a post on Facebook. A woman posted photos of her stove, with a bubbling pot of stew atop, and her dog curled up on the kitchen floor. The scene looked cozy and nurturing. She commented that she’d just passed a huge test that had taken months of study and preparation. Now, she wanted to spend some time in the subsequent week cooking, just for the pleasure of it. It struck me that this woman had had the self-awareness to pause, appreciate her accomplishment, and turn her attention towards self-care.
As a therapist, I’m a huge fan of self-care. But reading the Facebook post made me realize that there was room for improvement on that front. While I may not choose to take a week off to cook, I can find time each day to pause and to appreciate where I’ve been, where I’m going, and, most importantly, where I am in the present moment. If we make life all about reaching endless finish lines, we may never notice each step along the way.
How do you practice self-care? How do you incorporate mindfulness into your life?