PUBLISHED: 4:07 PM on Wednesday, January 17, 2007
A new resolution: Take time for yourself

Photo by Abby LaForce
  Sittin' on the dock enjoying lunch with a view--it doesn't get any better.
At the beginning of every year I make the resolution to lose weight, without fail. I'm not sure if it's "tradition" or because my post-holiday jeans are somehow shrinking.

To initiate my new workout schedule, I decided to savor one last treat. Waiting in line at a local pizza joint, any guilt was squelched. I gingerly carried my lunch along with an Americano espresso (with cream, of course) to the Wharf dock downtown.

Taking a hefty bite of my pizza wedge, the spicy tomato sauce coated my mouth and the salty cheese dusted with Italian herbs slid down my throat. Chewing the satisfyingly crisp oil-stained crust, I stared into the Gastineau Channel and noticed the sun gleaming over the water. The sky was a sharp eggshell blue. The wind nipped at my cheeks, and I felt the cold air seeping through my impractical yoga pants. I couldn't have been happier.

I realized right then that my resolution needed some work. The absolute peace derived from that small window of time I spent alone was exhilarating. Getting fit and trim is definitely a plus; preservation of mind, soul and heart is another. More so, there is a strong connection between physical and mental health - they work in sync. A fabulous New Year's resolution: Take time for oneself.

  Abby LaForce
It's so easy to get caught up in the scuttle of daily life and routine. How frequently do we take time for ourselves and appreciate who we are, what we have and our surrounding environment? Not very often.

It doesn't mean we need to spend hours meditating or conjuring up escape routes to expensive spas but simply putting aside a slot of time for oneself. That special "alone/you time" may be at the end of a long day, a lunch break or on the weekend. Do something you genuinely enjoy that instigates peace of mind - whether it be drinking tea and reading Harlequin romance novels, writing, listening to music or knitting socks for your dog.

I'm quite adept at stating, "I'll go for a walk tomorrow," and while it usually takes at least two weeks to go for a jaunty tromp through the snow, I wish I'd accomplished my rewarding goal sooner.

Juneau has an incredible bounty of nature to offer, and a breath of fresh air can invigorate the soul. Easy and accessible walks include the Twin Lakes area, Basin Road, Airport Dike Trail (a.k.a. the Wetlands Trail) and the Mendenhall Glacier area. Walking is also a great form of exercise and reflection.

I know we've all heard it before but actually applying such reasoning to our everyday life is another. It's not work or a dreadful task but a responsibility to self.

When we take time for ourselves each week, stress levels lower and energy levels rise due to a healthy state of mind.