“You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am; I’ll come running to see you again…

Winter, spring, summer, or fall,

all you have to do is call,

And I’ll be there…

You’ve got a friend.”

–Carole King

Can we make that selfless promise of endless commitment to ourselves as these heartfelt lyrics profess, within this timeless friendship between melody and word? Are we able to honestly say that we are there for ourselves in good times and bad—in all seasons and capacities of our existence?

We care for everyone else. We make sure that errands are run, responsibilities are fulfilled, and deadlines are met, but do we empower our own needs with the security of being a friend to ourselves? How may we walk into another season of stripping away the dead and dysfunctional areas of ourselves so that we may be loyal and faithful to our own holistic being?

Personal seasonal checklists aren’t a mandate like work requirements or vehicular maintenance, but they may be helpful in assessing your holistic needs for self-empowerment. Allow the following list to guide you in evaluating how you may use each season to refine your attunement to yourself.       

The Spiritual Season

____ How do you connect to spirit? The areas in our lives that are most sacred to us are often places of renewal and guidance. What is it that you do to ensure your constant connection to a fount of inspiration?  

____ How do you connect to peace? Your peace may be stripped away by daily obstacles and challenges, but there is always a way to recenter yourself so that a clear head and spirit will prevail in the most trying of situations.  

____ What fills your cup of life? When you look at your cup of life, is it half-full or half-empty? If it’s full, is it full of joy or full of something else? Fill your cup with what can sustain and grow your spirit.   

____ Are you motivated to make the world a better place? The two things that keep an individual internally motivated to live up to their fullest potential are purpose and passion. Do these things work together in your daily routine to improve your life and the lives of others?

The Mental Season

____ How do you assess stress? Negative stress is a silent but deadly killer that will slow walk you down. Please identify those circumstances within your life that lead to negative, stressful reactions from you.  

____ In a particular situation, when do you know that enough is enough? If you haven’t acknowledged what is exactly stressful for you, you may not actually know when your threshold has been reached. Set your mental tolerance and limit level for negative stress, and aim to not surpass it.

____ Do you have a healthy release valve? Stress relievers do exist—minus vices and self-medication. There is a variety of healthy ways to release the tensions within your body, mind, and soul so that you can focus on success and personal empowerment.

____ What are your views on therapy? The stigma of telling your problems to a stranger is lessening as more and more generations of people suffer from depression and mental health issues. Reach out to a health professional if you know that your personal concerns are surmounting your ability to cope with them.

The Emotional Season

____ Do you validate your emotions? It’s OK to cry over frustration, sadness, or fear. It’s totally fine to get angry. Happiness is beautiful and should be celebrated with smiles, laughter, and even the tears that are often suppressed. Do not allow anyone to shame you for feeling how you feel about your life. Acknowledge how you feel at any given time and respond how you need to respond in order to process your emotions.

____ Are you off-balance? You aren’t alone if you don’t know when to dial it back on an area of your life. Many people fail to reach a balance in approaching certain areas of their lives, but establishing a healthy balance of various activities within your life is a saving grace to emotional burnout.  

____ Do you know what love is? Love is patient; love is kind. It is unconditional and frequently misunderstood. Do you know how to love properly? If you don’t, begin to learn by loving yourself. Treat yourself with patience, kindness, and neverending forgiveness. You are only human.    

____ Do you have a support system? Surround yourself with people who are a healthy support system for you. Get yourself a tribe! A tribe is a particular set of individuals that are always down for you. They help you in any way possible and celebrate your successes, yet mourn your losses with you, too. Your tribe only wants to see you thrive in life.

The Physical Season

____ What is your exercise regimen? If you don’t have one, you may want to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. If you have a regimen, don’t be afraid to switch it up! Cardio is quite helpful in burning calories, but add some weight and body resistance training to your routine to strengthen and tone your physique.

____ Do you know when your body speaks to you? Body sprains, strains, and pulls are real physical ailments. Joint pain and body fatigue are indicators that something is amiss within your temple. Fevers and tooth pain are more than a nuisance; they are messages that your body is sending to you. Are you listening?

____ When’s the last time you got a once-over from a physician? There are fears within certain communities that involve doctor visits, but Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

____ Do you love your body? It’s the only one that you have. Take care of it with plenty of TLC. You deserve it.

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.

Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.

Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.

Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”

Yoko Ono

This essay was published in The Connect’s Holiday 2018 issue. You may purchase the full issue here, or download the digital version here.