As I’m writing this, I’m tired. I always get a rush of excitement when summer begins. I imagine wide open months ahead, ready to fill with creativity, trips, and fun memories with the kids.

Then sometime right around now in the season, the reality settles in of just how long summer days are.

And I’m reminded again of how easy it is to barrel down the over-extended, cranky, exhausted path without planning sufficient provisions to keep going at a healthy (and happy) speed.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

This quote makes me think about how important the ebb is to the flow of life – how important the pause is, to both our well being and our productivity as well.  In fact, it seems our society idolizes productivity, but rarely allows for the very things that make us most productive.

In nature, nothing is wasted; the winter season does more for the plant than simply create a break between times of fruiting. The winter is necessary to the growth of the fruit – it plays a vital role in the quality of the fruit itself.

For so long, I equated our need to ebb simply as you would understand a machine’s need to be given “breaks”.  It made sense that if you drove a car at top speed over time it would simply break; the machinery would give out. And that is true to a large extent with us as well. Without times of rest and restoration, we see clear signs of burnout, depletion, and exhaustion in our lives.

But what if taking regular, effective pauses of self-care in our days did even more than prevent burnout? What if these intentional practices of well-being actually produced in us richer fruits in our lives?

I’m seeing now that self-care is really self-stewardship. It is taking excellent care of the gift of myself. My times of pause and restoration enhance my capacity to live, love, and mother from a refreshed, calm, and energized place. For me, self-care is simply investing in practices that allow me to show up as my best and brightest self. And in turn, those I love get the best of me as well.

Take a moment right now and consider the day before you, or the week before you. Have you scheduled simple practices of self-care into your days to pro-actively keep your body, mood, mind and spirit well cared for? Share in the comments some ways that work for you to keep the blade sharpened as you go.