“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
(Sydney J. Harris)
It’s a new month, a new quarter, and a new season. It’s time for spring cleaning and revisiting those New Year’s resolutions. Where do you need to shift your focus, lean in, or back off? Which areas of your life need a refresh? And amidst the ever-changing pace of life, when can you slow down to take care of yourself?
Today’s guest post from Dr. Tom Sult reminds us to pause before saying, “I’m too busy.” Because if we aren’t taking the time to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, exercise often, and schedule time to do things that make us feel happy and healthy… who will?
Dr. Tom Sult is board-certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. He practices functional medicine and strives to find the fundamental cause of health issues. Dr. Sult is also an inspirational speaker and the author of Just Be Well: A Book For Seekers of Vibrant Health. For more information about Tom and the Just Be Well Movement, click here.
And now, I’ll let Dr. Sult take over…
Most of us think of self-care as optional care. In our crazy over scheduled lives, we often do not take the time to take care of ourselves. Exercising, preparing healthy meals, taking time to connect with our family and friends — we all know these help us function at an optimum level, but in all the chaos, they can come to seem like luxuries.
Why Don’t You Sharpen Your Saw?
But an old story about a woodsman and a young man illustrates the absurdity of this approach. The woodsman is walking through the woods when he comes across a young man feverishly trying to cut down a tree. The older and wiser woodsman stops and watches for a moment as the young man saws laboriously at the trunk again and again.
“That must be a really hard tree,” he comments.
The young man replies, “Nope. I’ll get it down eventually.”
“Why is it taking you so long to cut it down, though?” asks the woodsman. “You’re working so hard.”
“My saw is dull,” comes the answer.
“Why don’t you sharpen your saw?” asks the woodsman.
“Well, you see,” the young man replies, “I don’t have time.”
Why Making Time for Self-Care Will Actually Help You Function at Your Optimal Level
Many of us feel we don’t have time for self-care, but when we neglect it, we are like that shortsighted young man working with a dull saw. We put off taking care of our own body, mind, and spirit, resulting in our days being far more inefficient and ineffective than if we devoted a little time and effort to improving our health and wellbeing.
Starting the task of sharpening your saw, so to speak, can be the hardest part, so begin with something small and sustainable. Some people find meditation helpful, others like more movement, and others start by getting more emotional interaction with other human beings. Regardless of what it is that best helps you recharge and be your best, taking care of yourself is not optional — it’s required, and should be scheduled as such.
To see this article as it appears on the Just Be Well movement website, click here.
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