A thing well done
“The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Surviving trauma and loss requires learning how to ride the waves of sorrow that threaten to turn exhaustion into despair and resignation. Despite the ever-increasing use of antidepressants, the efficacy of which has been called into question in several recent studies, most people will battle feelings of sadness or hopelessness at least once or twice in a lifetime. For some of us, it may be a continual struggle.
On the plus side, we have an arsenal full of tools to fight the blues– listening to music, yard work, gardening, crafting, writing, cooking, or visiting a friend who needs or wants to see us, to name only a few. Over the years I’ve found that nothing is a better antidote to depression than actually doing something.
For those who work a full time job, this may be automatic. But for those of us who are retired from regular employment, or who work from home with self-regulated hours, it may be more difficult. Some mornings when I awaken with dread at the thought of getting through another day, I will remind myself to avoid “ruination by rumination” by simply getting up and getting to work on something I want or need to do.
When the task involves strenuous labor, so much the better. But even light activity is remarkably beneficial. Whether or not anyone ever praises your work, it’s edifying to the spirit. Some jobs such as care-giving (or really any sort of ongoing maintenance) are by their very nature almost invisible to others. If we wait around to be noticed, we’ll likely be disappointed. The good news is that Emerson is right; just having done something well is satisfaction enough.
Do you have any nagging tasks hanging over your head, or projects you’re eager to get started on, but just haven’t made the time? Try carving out a bit of time today to begin. If you feel hesitant, promise yourself that you can stop after 30 minutes, or even 15. Chances are you won’t want to, once you get going.
Today, I wish you the reward of a thing well done.