The Importance of Solitude

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It doesn’t take a fancy personality test to recognize my overall personality type: I’m quite the extrovert. I love being around people, in fact; in talking things over with those I love, I tend to more quickly figure out solutions and possibilities rather than when I’m alone with my thoughts. I’m a communicator, a “let’s discuss!” and “what are your thoughts?” type of person.

Have you ever been around someone, be it a stranger or friend, and when you walk away you feel invigorated and as if you’re looking at things with a fresh perspective? Conversely, has the same thing happened to you, this time with the inverse outcome? I know that I have definitely felt both ways. Some scientists believe that every human being has a physical aura. Aura is defined by the dictionary as: the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place. To illustrate, think of the wind. We can’t see the wind, but we know it’s there. Not only can we feel it, we also see its effects on nature (a tree’s branches and leaves swaying gently) and even ourselves (walking outside on a blustery morning). That’s the simplest way I can perceive aura in order to fully understand that it does, in fact, exist.

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So we have to ask ourselves: How does my aura affect other people? Am I a giver, or a taker? Do I focus only on myself and my needs, or do I concern myself with others’ feelings and personal experiences?

“My father said there are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.” 

-Marlo Thomas, American actress, producer and social activist

Recently I have realized the importance of taking time for myself. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been hit by a bolt of lightning…I’m going + going + going and suddenly I stop to complete a simple task and realize that I am completely and utterly drained. A personal goal, especially in my pregnancy, is to not let my tank of energy deplete itself. It doesn’t come easy to me, but I have to train myself to periodically check in with my soul as the day goes by. Just as we ask others, “How are you doing?” we need to ask ourselves the same question, and then we have to listen to what our bodies tell us. If you’re tired, rest. If you’re hungry, eat. If you need the company of others, seek it. If you are home and all you want is to rest for a few minutes alone in the dark, why not? The world will not fall down because you chose to close your eyes. Mommies, this one’s for you! Men don’t struggle with this as much as women do. They’re simpler creatures, and if they’re tired, they’re tired…and behave accordingly. At the end of the day, every woman I know is the Superwoman of her own life (even especially those who figure out a way to take cat naps).

As a teacher, I am enjoying my summer break and also preparing for the arrival of Baby. I am so grateful to be off of work as I am in the homestretch of my pregnancy. Despite being home and having lots of time to myself, I can’t deny the physical effects of pregnancy on my body. I can’t complain either, because I have felt great. However, lower back pain is so real! My husband was at work and the idea came to me to take a bath in our guest bathroom. I know this seems like no big deal, but to me it was. I am not a bath-taker; I’m a shower-taker. I remembered the luxurious box of lavender-scented goodies that a friend sent me after learning I was pregnant. It contained all sorts of magical items, including a bath bomb (which I had never used), natural soaps, and a soft-as-cotton washcloth. I had already been enjoying some its contents, but I realized that I was going to get to enjoy the bathtub-friendly products. I lit a new lavender-vanilla candle that I had been saving, set my Pandora app to play ocean sounds, and turned off the lights. I created a spa in my own bathroom, and it was so glorious that I was left wondering why I hadn’t done this before. The bath did wonders for my aching back and I will definitely be incorporating this routine into my week.

I am sharing this personal experience in order to serve as an example of the importance of solitude and self-care. I know this is going to become even more challenging once I have a newborn to look after. However, I still have to make it a point to do whatever it takes throughout the day (even if in tiny bursts) to restore my energy. My daughter deserves the best of me. So do my husband, my family, my colleagues and my students.

“I can only provide others with the best of me if I do my best to take care of me.”

-me

 

 

 

 

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